A new wind turbine project in Huron County has taken a step forward with one group approving documents concerning it.
The Huron County Board of Commissioners approved decommissioning documents for a new phase of the Deerfield Wind Farm, with most of the project not on county-zoned land.
The 21 turbines that are part of this project are located in Huron Township, which is self-zoned. The parts of this expansion on county-zoning land include an electrical substation on Redman Road, expanding an operations and maintenance site on Kinde Road, and electrical collection circuits going from the towers to substations.
The documents include a decommissioning consent agreement, a permit performance surety bond, and a corporate guarantee, all from the wind farm’s parent company, the Oakville, Ontario-based Algonquin Power.
The county’s wind ordinance requires the parent company provide $1 million in decommissioning financial assurance per project, with Algonquin Power providing a $1 million permit performance bond and a $1 million corporate guarantee.
Director of Building and Zoning Jeff Smith said the company has gone above and beyond the anticipated decommissioning costs, since the costs for the portion that falls under county zoning would cost $150,000. The county would have multiple forms of financial assurances to cover itself in the instance the operating company were to walk away from the project.
“We’re hopeful that we’ve made them give us the full face value of decommissioning under the value of permit performance bond,” Smith said.
Smith said that the county is holding the parent company’s feet to the fire, since the corporate guarantee is coming from the project’s parent company, not a subsidiary.
Keith Iseler, the Huron Township Planning Commission chairman, said the township is still waiting the final details for its decommissioning documentation, and it has made it clear those need to be in line before the final approval can move forward.
“As long as they provide evidence those items are taken care of, we’re done,” Iseler said.
The current Deerfield Wind Farm consists of 72 turbines spread across Bloomfield, Dwight, Huron, and Lincoln townships. It began operation in February 2017 and has a combined capacity of 151.2 MW.
Algonquin Power plans the 21 new turbines to produce between 2.65 MW and 6 MW of power, be between 263 and 390 feet tall, and provide enough power for up to 100,000 homes.
Algonquin Power spokespeople have previously stated that once they get all their project permits in place by the first quarter of 2022, construction can begin by the end of that quarter, with operations planned to start by the end of the third quarter 2022. Iseler added the start date also depends on when the county’s weight restrictions on roads are lifted.
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