The municipality has announced wpd Canada will begin decommissioning its White Pines Wind industrial turbines project in South Marysburgh on Oct. 15, 2019.
The statement indicates the first phase of the work involves a crane arriving to lower the towers to the ground. That work is to take place between Oct. 15 and Jan. 31, 2020.
The second phase of decommissioning, is anticipated to begin in April 2020, for the removal and remediation of infrastructure installed for the project.
The termination of the nine industrial wind turbine project was moved through the Ontario Legislature in July 2018 and formalized just short of a year later by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks with a set of regulations that the closure “be carried out in a way that is protective of human health and the environment.”
The road users agreement signed in 2016 between the County and wpd Canada remains in effect. It outlines requirements to protect roads and infrastructure.
wpd Canada had indicated it would seek to recoup $100 million it put into the project, but it is still not clear how much the provincial government agreed to pay. The legislation requires wpd to cover the cost of decomissioning and restoring the land. The law also bars the company from suing the government.
There are four turbines erected of the nine approved for the development before the provincial government terminated the project under The White Pines Wind Project Termination Act.
The Act revoked the Feed-in-Tariff contract awarded by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO); the renewable energy approval issued for the project by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and the permit issued for the project under the Endangered Species Act, 2007, by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
The German wind company’s initial plan was for 29 turbines but following years of legal battles, led by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, over protection of species at risk and heritage preservation, the project was reduced to nine. Only four of the 100-metre tall turbines were erected, but were not put into service before the legislation.
Because the renewable energy approval has been revoked, the ministry made a new regulation under the Environmental Protection Act and an associated technical closure document, to govern the closure of the facility.
The facility consists of the nine turbine areas and one transformer substation, associated ancillary equipment, systems and technologies including on-site access roads, underground cabling, distribution or transmission lines and storage areas.
The documents includes many general themes covering areas such as pre-dismantling activities, equipment dismantling and removal, site restoration, stormwater management, precautions to avoid impacts on the Blanding’s Turtle and restoration of natural and cultural heritage features.
The company is expected to maintain its website and update on or before the 15th of each month, about the facility and include documents for the public. There is no information about the County project on the site as of today.
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