Credit: By Nancy Madsen, Times Staff Writer, Watertown Daily Times
A Canadian company with an offshore wind power project planned for south and west of the Duck Islands will have a public meeting on this side of the border.
Trillium Power Wind Corp., Toronto, is proposing Trillium Power Wind 1, a 414-megwatt project.
Trillium Power is not required to hold public meetings in the U.S. Chief Executive Officer John Kourtoff said his company wants to get accurate information out.
“It’s just because we’re always about doing things the right way,” he said. “We were only supposed to submit notice to residents within five kilometers, but we’re 17 kilometers from shore.”
The developer distributed 17,000 printed notices, along with those placed in newspapers. Trillium Power also is holding public meetings July 6 in Napanee and July 7 in Picton, both in Ontario, as part of the environmental review process.
The July 8 open house will use a series of informational panels on the project, with explanations from Trillium staff and consultants.
Mr. Kourtoff said he hopes this sets a high mark that U.S. developers also will meet.
“We are willing to consult with U.S. jurisdictions, though there is no requirement for us to do so,” he said. “From a moral perspective, this sets a requirement for reciprocating.”
The site considered for the wind project would begin in the shoals about three-tenths of a mile south of the island, according to the project description report. There, the water is about 6 feet deep, and at the farthest reaches of the site, the water is about 130 feet deep.
The project will cover about 16,000 acres. Navigation aids will surround the towers, and lights and foghorns will warn ships and boats of the project.
To address concerns about light pollution, Mr. Kourtoff said, the project will use LED lights, visible for no more than five kilometers, or 3.1 miles.
The project will sit 17 kilometers, or 10.6 miles, from the nearest shoreline in Prince Edward County, Ontario, and 28 kilometers, or 16.8 miles, from the shoreline in the town of Greater Napanee, where the transmission line will make landfall.
The project will include 138 three-megawatt turbines. The developer has chosen Vestas turbines, which will stand from 262 to 328 feet high. The full project description is available on the corporation’s website.
The choice of turbines is “pretty well set,” Mr. Kourtoff said. But even if the end product includes more powerful turbines, they won’t be much larger, he said.
Trillium Power plans to begin construction in July 2012 and complete the project in November 2014. The work will shut down for the winter months from November 2012 through April 2013.
In its project description, Trillium Power said it is working on evaluations of natural resources at the site, including wildlife — birds, bats and aquatic species — and archaeology.
Preliminary results show there aren’t many birds near Main Duck Island, Mr. Kourtoff said, because “birds go along the shoreline.”
The developer also said he believes constructing the turbine foundations will create a “reef effect” that allows more productive fish spawning, according to research provided by the province of Ontario.
While recreational fishing will be restricted during construction and decommissioning, Trillium Power wrote that fishing could take place during operation.
Ontario’s provincial government released proposed offshore wind-power project regulations Friday. They include a 5-kilometer, or 3.1-mile, exclusion zone around major islands and mainland where turbines won’t be allowed.
Projects will follow an environmental review process that includes addressing potential negative effects to significant wildlife habitat, noise and drinking water. The projects also must meet coastal engineering study requirements. They would have a series of Canadian permits and requirements to meet as part of the review process, too.
Mr. Kourtoff, Trillium CEO, said he welcomes the proposed regulations, and the offshore project will follow all of them.
“They’re trying to do it for the right reasons,” he said.