The P.E.I. Energy Corporation is once again approaching the community of Eastern Kings to see if there is interest in the development of a wind farm.
For over a year the corporation has been analyzing the wind at a number of Island locations, said Heather MacLeod, director of energy policy and assets for the corporation.
“Those studies are complete now, we found that Eastern Kings is a favourable location with a good wind regime.”
The P.E.I. Provincial Energy Strategy asks that a new wind farm be developed by 2020 that will produce an additional 30-megawatts of wind energy for Islanders, MacLeod said.
In 2017 the corporation was looking at Eastern Kings to set up another wind farm. The area is already home to the Hermanville wind farm.
However, a municipal bylaw change requiring a two-kilometre setback from the shore meant the corporation had to change its plans for the $60 million project.
At the time of the bylaw change, the P.E.I. Energy Corporation said the bylaw would have reduced the amount of land area and caused layout issues as turbines would have to be placed closer together or fewer would be used as part of the project.
Irishtown in central P.E.I. and Skinners Pond in the western part of the province were also up for consideration.
The last 30-megawatt farm developed by the corporation needed 10 turbines, but the industry has advanced, MacLeod said.
“We’re thinking that seven wind turbines rather than 10 would fulfil our mandate.”
The new farm would be developed south of the existing wind farm, said MacLeod.
“This would be coming more into the centre of that eastern tip of the Island.”
But the company is staying well away from the tip itself because that is a popular spot for migratory birds, MacLeod said.
Turbine selection has not been finalized, but the corporation is looking at larger models this time around.
“The turbines we’re looking at are in the range of 175 metre to the tip, their ultimate height.”
The energy corporation has already met with Eastern Kings council.
Grace Cameron, mayor of Eastern Kings, was at the proposal and she said she isn’t sure how councillors feel about another wind farm.
“As far as, you know, a move forward or not, I really don’t know how the individual councillors feel about that.”
The general feeling is council needs to look at the presented information thoroughly, find out more, and assess a full application, she said.
Resident concerns and compensation
There are also some concerns from the residents, MacLeod said.
“There are some that are very excited at the thought of wind farm development in the community. And of course there are others that are not so excited, shall we say.”
If approved landowners can expect compensation if their land is near a wind farm, MacLeod said.
“Our standard contribution to landowners is 2.5 per cent of our gross revenue at the wind farm.”
If all goes as planned, the corporation hopes to start work this fall and have the operation up and running by September 2020, MacLeod said.
The next step is a special council meeting May 21 that is open to the public.
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