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Otter Creek Wind Farm cancelled

Ontario is cancelling 758 renewable energy contracts, including the proposed Otter Creek Wind Farm that was set to develop 12 wind turbines north of Wallaceburg starting in the spring of 2019.

The newly-elected Progressive Conservative government is to announce legislation to stop various renewable energy projects as they sit in a summer session next week. The government outlined three priorities on July 12, with one to introduce legislation to repeal the projects.

According to the Ministry of Energy, ratepayers will benefit from $790 million in savings because of the decision to cancel and wind down 758 renewable energy contracts. Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton confirms that one of those contracts is for the Otter Creek Wind Farm.

Members of the grassroots Wallaceburg and Area Wind Concerns (WAWC) group are pleased with the news.

“The Otter Creek project was not in the best interests of the people of Ontario and specifically of course not for this community,” said WAWC’s Violet Towell, noting concerns the group had with the project because of its possible impact on the local environment and local residents’ health.

Towell said there have been thousands of unresolved complaints regarding wind turbines in Ontario in regard to noise and vibrations.

“That’s not to mention all the costs that are affecting our electricity bills and worsening energy poverty, so yeah, we’re very pleased we’re moving in this direction because we’ve had so many concerns,” she said, noting the issues with water wells locally.

Renewable energy has been a huge issue in Chatham-Kent, as residents blame wind turbines for the contamination and destruction of their water wells since wind turbines were erected in the former Dover and Chatham townships.

During the recent election campaign, both Premier Doug Ford and McNaughton said the proposed Otter Creek Wind Farm would be killed once the Progressive Conservatives formed the government.

Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford said all of the cancelled projects have not reached project development milestones.

Terminating the projects at an early stage will maximize benefits for ratepayers, he said in a release.

“We clearly promised we would cancel these unnecessary and wasteful energy projects as part of our plan to cut hydro rates by 12 per cent for families, farmers and small businesses,” said Rickford. “In the past few weeks, we have taken significant steps toward keeping that promise.”

Rickford also confirmed that the government intends to introduce a legislative amendment that, if passed, will protect hydro consumers from any costs incurred from the cancellation. Even after all costs are accounted for, ratepayers can expect to benefit from $790 million in savings from the decision, he said.

“For 15 years, Ontario families and businesses have been forced to pay inflated hydro prices, so the government could spend on unnecessary and expensive energy schemes,” said Rickford. “Those days are over.”