Michael Gennings, Staff, www.simcoe.com
STAYNER – A Mississauga-based company plans to erect eight wind turbines on land just southwest of Stayner, The Sun has learned.
Wpd Canada Corp., a subsidiary of Germany-based Wpd, says it plans to place the turbines on private property bound by Airport Road, County Road 91, Nottawasaga Concession 6 and Nottawasaga Sideroad 18-19.
The project is subject to what’s known as Renewable Energy Approval (REA) from the province before the turbines can be erected.
Wpd has dubbed the project the Fairview Wind Farm. The company plans to use the turbines to create electricity that can be sold to Hydro One.
“We’ve been looking at this project for three years,” Wpd Canada president Ian MacRae told The Sun. “One of our engineers was driving by the new Stayner transformer station, noticed it being built and thought this [wind turbine project] would be a good opportunity. We checked out the wind resource and took it from there.”
MacRae noted that due to confidentiality he could not disclose who owns the land where they plan to erect the turbines.
In the draft Fairview Wind Farm Project Description Report, the company notes it is in the final stages of negotiations with a turbine manufacturer for eight turbines.
For the project to take place a lot of work is still required.
The company states that REA related technical studies will be ongoing until early 2011.
Wpd plans to have its first public open house regarding the project in September 2010.
MacRae said he didn’t know exactly where that open house would be held but said people interested in the project should look for information about the meeting in local newspapers.
“We’ll give at least 30 days notice,” MacRae added.
Draft REA related reports will be available to the public in March 2011, the company notes. MacRae said this information will be available on the company’s website.
A second public open house will be held in spring 2011.
Wpd said it expects to receive project approval from the province in December 2011.
Construction of the turbines and related infrastructure would start in May 2012, the company states, and the commercial operation of the turbines would begin in February 2013.
The company notes the infrastructure should last approximately 25 years.
Due to stipulations in the Ontario Green Energy Act, the project is not subject to any municipal approvals in terms of whether it can go ahead. That authority rests solely with the province.
Still, MacRae said Wpd plans to let Clearview Township comment on its REA-related documents once they are complete.
“We need to keep them abreast of what we are doing,” he said.
Clearview Township Mayor Ken Ferguson said it was only a few months ago that he started hearing rumours about the project.
“Yeah I started hearing rumours about it a while ago. Nothing came to the township. But now we’ve been e-mailed [by the company Wednesday], outlining their intentions.
“My take on it? On the project? I don’t know how to answer that. We’re basically not in the picture thanks to the Green Energy Act. I do respect the wishes of the farmers and people doing what they want with their property but in excluding the municipality and the county decision-wise, that’s wrong. What they’ve done [Wpd] is just let us know officially where they’re at,” Ferguson said.
The mayor questioned whether using the land for a wind farm is best but said he’s not prepared to state his personal opinion.
“I’m caught in the middle,” he said. “I know these people that own the land and their neighbours. But I’ll stick to my question: Is this the best use of our agricultural land? I’m all about new technologies but is this a new technology? As far as I’m concerned this is an old technology from Europe. A lot of my questions, concerns, have never been answered satisfactory by anyone.
“I’m not saying I’m for or against. I don’t feel that I know enough. Will it affect our municipality in a positive way? A negative way? I don’t know.”
Since it was founded in 1996, Wpd says its facilities have come to generate some 1,692 megawatts of power.
MacRae said Wpd is the largest wind farm company in Germany.
Wpd also has wind farm projects – in various states of development – in more than a dozen other countries, including Australia, Finland and Chile.
For more information on the company and its Stayner project, visit www.canada.wpd.de.