By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press
Get ready for the next tilt in Southwestern Ontario’s transformation into the province’s wind-energy hotbed: 10-storey-high poles to help collect all that power. Debora Van Brenk looks at the early static one wind energy giant’s plans are creating in Middlesex County.
A wind energy giant’s plan to put up 10-storey poles and high-voltage wires along Middlesex County roads is sparking energetic attention. The Ontario Energy Board will consider the application by NextEra Energy Canada to put up poles from its proposed three wind farms along about 30 km of Middlesex roads north and northwest of Strathroy. The county and two residents want permission to speak at a hearing — no date set yet — and more than 24 others have asked to be observers.
The county wants to make sure any poles on municipal rights-of-way don’t interfere with existing or planned infrastructure such as bridges, utilities or drainage ditches, Middlesex engineer Chris Traini. “Anything that would be of public use to the residents should take precedence over transmission poles,” he said.
The county is obligated to share its rights-of-way with utilities, and Traini said he wants to make sure residents’ interests are protected. Council has also expressed concerns about the possible effect on drivers of roadway sign and pole clutter. Traini said the county also wants the energy board to help draw lines of clear responsibility for maintenance and safety of the lines and poles. Read article