Two proposed wind power projects in Northwestern Ontario are on hold while the company pursuing the development attempts to cut through red tape.
Anemos Energy, a Hamilton-based company, is in the “very early development stages” of wind projects in the municipality of Neebing south of Thunder Bay, and just south of Schreiber.
Rob Parsons, president of Anemos Energy, acknowledged the development of large-scale renewable energy projects is “uncertain” after the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator of Ontario suspended the second round of its large renewable procurement process last September.
As well, the projects would be dependent upon the creation of the east-west transmission tie line, which is scheduled for completion in 2020, to create capacity for new projects.
“Presently the entire Northwest region transmission grid, including the transmission lines which the projects would connect to, are constrained and cannot accommodate additional new generation,” Parsons said.
“Preliminary environmental constraints analysis have been completed at both sites, options to lease have been signed with the property owners, meteorological assessment towers have been installed at the sites since 2010 to measure wind data, and consultations have been conducted with the municipalities.”
Parsons said the company was drawn to the two projects because of their proximity both to major roadways as well as the provincial grid transmission lines.
The company’s Jarvis River project is located in Neebing, about 22 kilometres southwest of Thunder Bay.
Parsons said the land is on privately owned property in the municipality, adjacent to Highway 61.
Details of the project’s plan are on the company’s website, which states configuration of the project has not yet been determined but the land area could host as many as 24 wind turbines to generate 50 megawatts.
“In the case of the Jarvis River project, the site and surrounding areas have a low population density such that wind turbines will be located well away from residences, and timber harvesting has previously been conducted separately by other parties throughout the site,” Parsons said.
The Schreiber project is proposed to be located along the shore of Lake Superior, about four kilometres south of the municipality.
While the scope of the project also hasn’t been determined, the land area could host up to eight turbines with a generating capacity of 20 megawatts.
“The site and surrounding areas contain no residences, and mineral resource prospecting has previously been conducted extensively throughout the site,” Parsons said of the Schreiber project. “Mineral resource mining may be developed separately by other parties in the future.”
Meanwhile, the company and municipality are moving forward with a joint solar energy project at the site of the town’s wastewater plant site.
Don McArthur, Schreiber’s chief administrative officer, said the 250-kilowatt project is expected to generate as much as $12,000 per year for the township.
“We think the solar project is a much better fit, being beside the industrial site already, it’s well-suited,” McArthur said. “It’s not in a residential or recreational area. There’s a clearing that’s there that will fit the project very well.”
McArthur added there have been concerns about the impact of wind turbines on the view of Lake Superior. He also said going ahead with the solar project does not necessarily end the process for the wind project.
The contract with the Independent Electricity System Operator has been secured and the project is currently in the procurement phase.
McArthur said he is optimistic construction can begin this year.
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