Posted By Troy Patterson Kincardine News
The public has less than a week to comment on the first phase of a government document that could lay the framework to introduce off-shore wind power development off of Point Clark, Kincardine, Port Elgin and up the west coast of the Bruce Peninsula and east coast of Georgian Bay.
The Policy Proposal Notice, entitled ‘Renewable Energy Approval Requirements for Off-shore Wind Facilities -An Overview of the Proposed Approach’ began its ‘public review’ process June 25, with comments from the public to be submitted by Aug. 24.
The purpose of the policy is to further develop wind resources in Ontario by providing clarity to developers on off-shore wind turbine requirements. The information is to be included as part of the Renewable Energy Act (REA) and the policy will also be “supplemented” by research conducted by the Ministry of Environment (MOE), Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
“In addition to this approach to off-shore wind projects, the MNR is undertaking a phased review of Ontario’s current process for making Crown land available for renewable energy projects,” the Environmental Registry website reads. “The second phase of this review will include consideration of where, when and how the Government makes Crown land available for off-shore wind projects.”
The Kincardine Newswas made aware of the documents by Mike Sapiro, a member of the newly formed Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeshore Turbines (HALT). The group is in the midst of fighting a 55-turbine project set next to Point Clark by International Power Inc.
Sapiro is circulating the info in an effort to save the lake “from being damaged by these Industrial Wind Turbines.”
“Once again, the government is trying to slip this legislation in without proper public input and proper notice to everyone, by putting this notice on a website that most people are not aware of,” he said via e-mail.
Another Ministry of Environment: Renewable Energy website shows a map illustrating ‘Wind turbine applications proposed in Lake Huron’.
The coloured areas illustrate proposed turbine locations in the water off of the shoreline north of Goderich to Amberley, in a line directly off of Point Clark and along the shore to Kincardine. The application areas continue off the shores of Bruce Power, north of Inverhuron to the shores off of MacGregor Point Provincial Park, just south of Port Elgin.
Sapiro said the source document for these maps originates from a 2008 report prepared for the Ontario Power Authority by Montreal-based wind power consultant Helimax Energy Inc. entitled ‘Analysis of Future Off-Shore Wind Development in Ontario.’ It is currently posted on the OPA website.
The document lists the sites ‘More Favourable” for off-shore wind development already mentioned along the Bruce coast, as well as areas off of Stokes Bay, the coast north of Bruce Peninsula Provincial Park and between the peninsula and Manitoulin Island.
It also lists ‘More Favourable’ to ‘Least Favourable’ locations on the east coast of Georgian Bay near Parry Sound, along the northern edge of Lake Erie and the north eastern part of Lake Ontario.
Sapiro said the report identifies the technical assessment and ranking of 64 sites in the Great Lakes region, considered ‘Most Favourable’ for development. The sites are in water depths between five metres and 30 metres, have an average wind speed of at least eight metres per second and have enough area to accommodate at least 100 megawatts of wind power.
He is encouraging the public to log on to the website and share their comments on the proposed off-shore wind developments.
A representative at Huron-Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell’s office said they knew about the policy that’s up for review, but was unaware of the applications within the riding. Mitchell is currently at Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference and was for comment as of press time.
Mitchell’s staff member, Jennifer Hubbard, said the Aug. 24 deadline is only the first stage of comment and there will be more opportunity for the public to comment in the fall, with more information on dates and locations “available soon” at www.ontario.ca.
The OPA spokesperson Tim Butters, said in an e-mail Tuesday that “the OPA doesn’t have any information about a project with that description,” with the only registered off-shore wind project on file is listed as a contract offer to Windstream for a Wolfe Island project, located near Marysville, east of Prince Edward, on the eastern most part of Lake Ontario.
Butters said he couldn’t speak any further to the issue, as the map is an MNR document.
Huron Bruce MP Ben Lobb said he’d been informed of the off-shore projects by his constituents, but nothing officially.
“It’s the best kept secret I’ve heard in a while,” said Lobb.
Although it’s a provincial issue that’s out of his jurisdiction, Lobb said there is a “great energy mix” already and believes the focus should be on promoting nuclear power at the Bruce site and elsewhere in the province, rather than on wind along the lake shore. He also had questions that need answering about ice issues, depth and proximity of turbines to the shoreline, as well as the impact on tourism and private property.
Lobb said he would be following the issue with interest as more information surfaces.
Municipality of Kincardine chief administrative officer John deRosenroll said “this is the first time that I have seen a document for public comment.”
Speaking from the AMO confrence, Municipality of Kincardine mayor Larry Kraemer said he’d only heard of the possibility of turbines and nothing about applications for actual projects.
“Nobody has brought it to my attention, but I’m very interested in it,” said Kraemer, who plans to look into the issue while at AMO. “I’ve heard a couple of rumours, but I’ll be making an inquiry (with MPP Mitchell) myself.”
Bruce Power spokesperson John Peevers said via e-mail that he would have to check to see if the company had been notified, which may take some time, but was unsure if they would have a comment on it.
“As a company, it’s been our policy not to comment on projects or proposals such as these,” Peevers said.
To view and comment on the policy document go to The Environmental Registry website at www.ebr.gov.on.caand enter 011-0089 in the registry number field.
To view the off-shore wind turbine application areas, visit the MNR website at www.lio.ontario.ca/imf-ows/imf.jsp?site=renew_en