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FINCH – A determined opponent of the Nation Rise Wind Farm is continuing the fight against the project.
Ruby Mekker, once involved with the grassroots Concerned Citizens for North Stormont, said community members continue to twist in the wind as an important date approaches, and she’s calling on Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell to communicate concerns to government ministers and other officials.
Mekker, of Finch, earlier this week emailed McDonell’s office, writing, “your constituents and yourself opposed the Nation Rise Wind project from the start. The people did not consent then, and we continue our opposition.”
The 29-turbine wind farm had construction conclude early this spring, and it’s expected to be commercially operational in about a month – by June 17 according to the company’s contract. Nation Rise Wind Farm is expected to produce 100 megawatts of electricity in North and South Stormont, the power being enough to fuel approximately 25,600 homes.
The project was allowed to go ahead after lengthy legal proceedings saw the permit for the operation revoked due to environmental concerns over the negative effects on local bat populations. Since then, many of the groups opposed to the project have withdrawn that opposition, such as the Township of North Stormont, and the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, after wind farm developer EDP Renewables reached compensation agreements with them.
Only Mekker and a few others, now speaking for themselves, have continued to try and find every available opportunity to kill the project as it approaches completion, commissioning, and full operation.
Mekker said her letter was sent first to Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), and then forwarded to the Minister of Environment, the Minister of Energy, the Attorney General, the Minister and Deputy Minister of Health and the Premier.
“For justifiable cause, the Nation Rise Wind project can be terminated, either by the Commercial Operation Date or legislation (White Pines, Prince Edward County),” Mekker said. “On behalf of many of your constituents I am asking that you notify me within one week, the receipt by those government parties listed. Your constituents have a right to know that their valid concerns are being heard.
“With adverse health impacts being reported from December, 2020, we hope you will recognize the harm of the project and support us in our request for the contract termination. Your constituents did not consent.”
McDonell, reached on Thursday afternoon, said the group’s concerns are understandable and he would ensure they are passed along, but he thinks that “there is no path to cancellation at this time.”
McDonell said the IESO operates independently of the government, and it’s his understanding the contracts for the project are written in such a way that, “if they don’t meet their full potential, the government is required to pay them out.
“It’s unfortunate, but we’ve tried (to halt the project) over the different issues (in recent years).”
Mekker in a letter to officials, including Terry Young, interim president and CEO of the IESO, said “I continue to wait for your response to our April 22, 2021, email.”
In the late April letter, Mekker noted the project’s “extended Commercial Operation Date of June 17, 2021 is quickly approaching. Through EDP construction updates and public observation there are mechanical and electrical difficulties with multiple turbines. Turbines that were reported by EDP to be commissioned in December, 2020 and the 300 hour maintenance reported to be completed in the EDP April 20, 2021, report are in the April 19-23 reports requiring mechanical and electrical retrofitting. A blade replacement is now required…
“The residents know that IESO’s lawyers have provided IESO the laws with which IESO can legally terminate the Nation Rise Wind project.”
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