Skypower pulls plug on project in PE County

Too close to CFB Mountainview

W. BRICE MCVICAR    The Intelligencer

The winds of change have closed the door on a plan for one wind farm in Prince Edward County while another has blown wide open.

Residents have been informed by Skypower the company no longer plans to proceed with a 43-turbine wind farm due to economic factors and concerns brought forward by the military due to the proposed location of wind turbines in proximity to CFB Mountainview. However, the announcement comes just days after the Ontario government announced 184 green-energy project contracts across the province including the Ostrander Point project, a wind farm planned to be operational in Prince Edward County’s South Marysburgh Ward by late next year. 

Paul Pede, president and co-founder of Gilead Power, said with the contract now in hand, his company will move forward with its plans.

“We’re very pleased to have received the contract,” he said. “This is something we’ve been working toward for quite some time and we believe the Green Energy Act is a very good thing for the province and the people of Ontario.”

Gilead Power — based out of Peterborough — plans to erect 12 turbines at Ostrander Point. When developed, the wind farm will have the potential of providing power for roughly 5,000 homes each year.

Michael Lord, Gilead’s vice-president, was not aware of Skypower’s announcement but said the fiscal plan his company has remains viable and construction on the wind farm will move forward.

“At this point we plan to go to construction in 2011. Our project’s financial model still plays out and it looks like it’s a good project that is feasible and can be readily financed,” Lord said.

Prince Edward County has been a hotbed of debate regarding wind turbines for the past decade. Some pockets of residents have vocally opposed the idea of erecting turbines anywhere in the county — citing health concerns — and Lord said such discussion has only helped the company create the best project possible.

“That’s the beauty of the process in Ontario. The government sets it up so that there’s a need for public involvement in the development process and I think, at the end of the day, it makes for a better project,” Lord said. “We’ve made some pretty significant changes to the project to do our best to accommodate some of the concerns of the local residents.”
bmcvicar@intelligencer.ca

3 thoughts on “Skypower pulls plug on project in PE County

  1. Michael Lord indicates the project still needs to be financed. The cancellation of the 43 turbine project was “due to economic factors…” Why should this new site be a better project other than it is only 12 turbines so potentially less money to lose. Industrial wind is not an investment but an illusion to spend money on.

  2. Trust me I have the documents – DND is the biggest factor. However you can hardly stand up and say “ooops we cocked up by not checking with DND before signing up people and doing a site plan”. FYI 20 other companies before Skypower did just that and were told NO.
    Skypower cocked up and told me that what DND thought was irrelevant – hence they did not need to check with them.
    So your their backer and you find out all this, mmm, somehow, how does that make you feel? To save face what do you now do with your money? To save greater face what is the lesser evil to admit to – not having the funds? or that you ignored Federal Law and in fact told DND that the GEA would over ride them…..

  3. The issue is investor’s confidence in a company that tries to push forward with a site, ignoring the obstacles or as Caroline put it government hierarchy. The issue was bigger than Skypower was willing to admit openly in part because they need investors (someone else’s money) to get started. If Skypower had got investment confidence in place to push forward by whatever means, they would have tried as industrial wind wants to show how powerful they are. Anyone in higher government levels that have an interest in making industrial wind work would want that. It would have been a victory that puts people in a position of saying if DND couldn’t stop them how can we. The DND factor was too big a risk for investors to gamble as the cost to go forward would reduce returns and most likely would have become an outright total loss. DND did stop the proposal, but more to do with DND’s effect on financial confidence. The point is Skypower is capable of making bad decisions (i.e. to even consider they could ignore DND). Industrial wind proposals are a risky venture and when combined with Skypower’s ability to lose money in this past projects it should not help investor confidence in that company. We should hope it would result in backers rethinking investment with Skypower as someone lost money in the DND deal.

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