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Wind project scaled back

Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. has scaled back and moved its proposed wind farm north of the city.

Innergex spokesman Francois Morin said Friday the firm is now proposing a 110 megawatt wind farm instead of a 140 megawatt project and that the site has been shifted about four kilometres to the east to address concern raised by cottagers.

As a result of the move, Morin said the project is no longer located in Merrick Township, and is now being proposed for a Crown land within the Townships of Lockhart and Mulock.

He said the changes are the result of consultation and additional wind data in the area.

Morin said the project also remains outside of a 15-kilometre radius of Jack Garland Airport, despite an official response from NAV Canada indicating up to five turbines would be permitted within that boundary.

“We made a commitment to the city and want to honour that,” said Morin, referring to concerns raised earlier about the potential interference of the wind farm with radar equipment and flight paths.

He said NAV Canada has since evaluated and provided an official response to Innergex’s original proposal, suggesting the firm could adjust the project to include only five turbines within the 15-kilometre radius, or leave the proposal as is and help pay for upgraded radar equipment.

But Morin said the firm plans to keep its commitments to both the city and area cottagers.

A public meeting regarding the proposal – which is referred to at the Gidaabik Wind Project – is set for Aug. 20 at the Davedi Club from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Morin said the firm plans to submit two proposals to the province under its Large Renewable Procurement program, which is expected to award contracts this year for wind and solar, hydroelectric and bioenergy projects.

But he said both proposals are for the same site and are virtually same, other than how they will connect to the grid. And Morin said only one of the proposal will be able to move ahead.

North Bay council this week passed a motion in principle following in-camera discussions to support a solar farm of up to 75 megawatts on a 300-acre site north of Four Mile Lake.

Morin acknowledged that Innergex’s proposed wind farm is in a sense competing against that project, as well as numerous others in the region, including some in the Sudbury area, because of limited capacity.

He said there is about 150 megawatts of capacity in the region, noting the province plans to approve a total of 300 megawatts of wind and 140 megawatts of solar energy in Ontario. Because the call for proposals is province-wide, Morin said there may not be any project in the North Bay area approved, nor any in Northern Ontario.

If it comes down to a wind project versus and solar project, however, he suggested wind in most instance win because it is much cheaper.