Posted By TARA BOWIE, Woodstock Sentinel-Review
Despite a delay to a Norwich-area wind farm project, the township and county are looking at a number of municipal requirements that will need to be met before the project can go ahead.
“The long and short of it is we can throw some road blocks up. We can throw some money at it, but we cannot stop it,” said Coun. Pat Lee after a verbal explanation of recommendations issued to the province surrounding the wind turbine farm slated for Gunn’s Hill in Norwich Township.
Although the 10-turbine project that will stretch across 12 properties on Gunn’s Hill has been delayed, the joint report between Oxford County and Norwich Township is a provincial requirement.
The brakes were put on the project recently because the company behind the renewable energy project, ProWind Canada Inc., was not awarded a contract by the Ontario Power Authority to feed into the provincial power grid, but company representatives said the project is expected to go ahead at some point.
The report written by the township’s planner, Adam Lucas, and Margaret Misek-Evans, corporate manager for the county included recommendations from a variety of different departments.
“We looked at this facility through several different lenses,” Misek-Evans said to council.
Many of the recommendations listed in the report would apply to all new structures in the township, including that ProWind obtain all needed building permits.
In the report, it asked that no building permits be issued until adequate roadways are in place for use of emergency vehicles in the event response is needed during construction. The request is similar to requirements for new subdivisions.
In the emergency services portion of the report, it outlined township resources would be limited in a response to wind turbine catastrophic failure. Emergency services requested response plans be developed, implemented and paid for by ProWind.
“Basically the fire chief wants to know who is doing what in the event of an emergency,” Lucas said.
Emergency services also suggested any special equipment required to fight wind turbine fires be bought by the company.
The decommissioning plan suggested removal of the entire base, not just the top one metre if/when the turbines were ever decommissioned.
Other recommendations were made, including looking further into valley land and following already established requirements of the municipalities.
The wind farm, when built, is expected to generate 25 megawatts of power, with each turbine generating 2.5 megawatts. Each turbine is expected to have a hub height of 100 metres and a rotor diameter of 100 metres. In addition to the wind turbines, the wind farm will include access roads, a substation, underground cabling connecting the turbines to the substation and above ground cabling to connect the substation to the feeder line.
At this time, provincial setbacks stand at 550 metres.