by PAUL MORDEN, The Observer
A large wind farm with as many as 153 turbines could be coming to Lambton Shores.
A public meeting for the 230 MW Jericho Wind Energy Centre is scheduled for June 30, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Kimball Hall on Townsend Line in Forest. map
“We’re at the initial stages of a proposed development,” said Josie Hernandez, spokesperson with NextEra Energy Canada, which together with Canada Green Power is behind the project.
The companies don’t have a contract to sell wind power to the Ontario Power Authority, and the open house is an early step in the approval process required under Ontario’s Green Energy Act.
“It certainly is a large site and one that we have a lot of work to do on,” Hernandez said, “but at the same time we’re confident that we can work within all the constraints and make this work.”
The proposed wind farm would cover 2,258 hectares in Lambton Shores, stretching from just east of Forest to the Lambton-Middlesex county line, south to Warwick Township and north to Lakeshore Line. The area includes the communities of Arkona and Thedford.
The number of turbines could range from 101 to 153, depending on the type.
Lambton Shores council was to discuss the project Monday, but Mayor Gord Minielly noted the Green Energy Act has taken control of wind projects out the municipality’s hands.
Lambton Shore is home to the only 10 wind turbines currently generating electricity in Lambton County, although projects in several other municipalities are on the drawing board.
Minielly said Lambton Shores has heard few complaints about the existing turbines.
“I haven’t heard from anybody, other than one gentleman who says he can’t sleep and can’t think and can’t eat and he’s going to move away.”
Hernandez said the open house will offer information about the companies, the approvals process and studies to be carried out. Those studies typically take six months to complete and it’s expected a second open house will be held later this year, Hernandez said. Securing approvals could take another six months, she added.
The companies have tested the wind in Lambton Shores and have option agreements for land on which turbines would be placed, she said.
“We work with the landowners as the development progresses to ensure that this is something that can fit within their community.”
Hernandez said NextEra Energy has one wind farm in Nova Scotia, another in Quebec and has secured contracts for two planned farms in other parts of Ontario.
While seeking approval for the Jericho project, the companies are also working on two other projects that could see 108 to 166 turbines built in neighbouring Huron County.
While the company is new to Ontario, it has more than 9,000 wind turbines in operation on the continent, Hernandez said.
“We are the largest wind developer in North America, second largest in the world. We’re very confident in the way we develop projects because we’ve been doing it for a long time.”