By John Miner, The London Free Press
Green energy companies, facing hostile and persistent rural Ontario opposition to their plans for massive wind farms, have begun backing everything from community golf tournaments to mental health centres.
Renewable energy giant NextEra Energy Canada says it’s just trying to be a good corporate citizen. Anti-industrial wind turbine activist Esther Wrightman says it is more like deep pockets trying to buy community support.
K2 Wind Ontario — a limited partnership of Capital Power, Samsung, and Pattern Renewable that’s developing what will be Ontario’s largest wind farm near Goderich — has donated to more than a dozen community groups, including agricultural societies, minor hockey teams, a tractor-pull competition and Goderich and District Chamber of Commerce.
Last week, NextEra, which has wind farms in the approval process in Middlesex, Lambton and Huron counties, announced it is committing $1.1 million to help as many as 400 First Nation, Inuit and Metis youth across Canada to attend colleges and universities. The money will be awarded annually as bursaries to the students seeking education in engineering, science, commerce, business and renewable energy. Set up to run for 20 years — the projected lifespan of a wind farm — the bursary program is being managed in partnership with Indspire, the former National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Read article