Seventy-five municipalities across Ontario are calling on the provincial government to give them more say on future wind farm projects.
Some eastern Ontario communities have declared themselves “unwilling hosts” to wind farms, only to recently have the province award contracts against their wishes.
The City of Ottawa, North Frontenac and at least 73 other municipalities want Ontario’s Independent Electrical System Operator (IESO) to “make formal municipal support a mandatory requirement in Ontario’s next round of procurement for renewable energy projects,” according to the resolution.
The provincial energy agency claims to let communities express their concerns, but that has little impact on the outcome, according to North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins.
“We basically don’t have any democratic right when it comes to deciding where these wind turbines go … within our municipality,” he said.
Higgins said if given the opportunity North Frontenac would turn down all wind turbine projects, but he said some area municipalities would support them.
“We may want them, we may not want them, but if we do want them we’d like to be able to tell you where to put them,” said Higgins.
“Not right in front of a cottage door, or high on a mountain where all our cottages can see it.”
Current process ‘unfair,’ Ottawa councillor says
The current procurement process for renewable energy projects is “unfair” and “incredibly frustrating,” according to Rideau-Goulbourn ward Coun. Scott Moffatt.
Moffatt said he has no choice but to tell upset constituents “‘sorry, it’s the province, sorry, it’s the province.’ It just sounds like we’re passing the buck, but literally we have no control over these things.”
Both Higgins and Moffatt said they’re hopeful Ontario’s new energy minister, Glenn Thibeault, will be open to new discussions.
Higgins said he requested meetings with previous minister, Bob Chiarelli, three times, but that all requests were denied.
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