Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wind company 'confident' Ministry will approve wind turbine project

  • By Mary Riley
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  • Dec 19, 2012 - 5:19 PM
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Wind company 'confident' Ministry will approve wind turbine project
Sumac Ridge application for wind project intended for city is currently going through provincial review
(KAWARTHA LAKES) Although Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble is calling it "premature," a wind power company officer says he is confident a project planned for the City of Kawartha Lakes will be approved by the Province.
Suzlon Group subsidiary, REpower Systems, announced on Dec. 17 they completed a contract with wpd europe GmbH for the delivery of a total of 51 wind turbines.
The turbines, each with a rated power of 2.05 megawatts are intended for a total of six projects; Whittington, Springwood, White Pines, Napier, Sumac Ridge and Fairview, to be constructed and commissioned in 2014. They are located in the Southern Ontario counties of Simcoe, Middlesex, Prince Edward, Dufferin, Wellington and Kawartha Lakes. The contract includes a service and maintenance agreement for 15 years for the new projects.
Sumac Ridge is the project intended for the city.
On Wednesday (Dec. 19) Kevin Surette, manager of communications for wpd Canada, said five of the six projects were submitted to the Ministry of the Envrironment (MOE) for approval. Four of the five are still being evaluated. The application for the Springwood project, he said, was submitted last January and approved in mid-October.
Mr. Surette said the applications are "comprehensive" and the company ensures all provincial regulations are followed. "The four projects are still being evaluated by the Ministry, but we are confident they will be approved," he said.
He noted the months that passed between the submission of the Springwood project and its approval shows the Ministry takes the time to carefully review each application.
REpower also announced its plan to set up a new rotor blade manufacturing facility in southern Ontario, but did not say where.
In its press release, the company did not say approvals have been granted; only that the projects are intended for the specified municipalities.
Coun. Stauble, however, said the announcement was "misleading."
She wrote in an email that "Wpd Canada/REpower's announcement is premature, undermines public confidence and should not be endorsed by the government."
"Statements such as the projects 'will be located in'..and 'awarded six wind energy contracts' are misleading and distressing to those who have been led to believe that there is an objective review, approval and appeal process in place," she wrote.
Coun. Stauble pointed out the contracts have not been approved; they have Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) contracts that are conditional on Ministry approval.
Mr. Surette agreed, saying the approval has not been given yet, but expects it will be forthcoming in the next few months.
"Announcements such as this one suggest that these projects have a pre-determined outcome," Coun. Stauble wrote. "The projects in the City of Kawartha Lakes have not even been posted on the Environmental Registry for public comment, let alone approved by the Ministry of the Environment. If these projects are approved they may very well be appealed through an Environmental Review Tribunal."
Asked if the application process can continue when the Legislature is currently suspended, Mr. Surette told This Week the Legislation and regulations "give the authority to the Ministry (specifically the director appointed under the regulation) to approve the REA applications, provided they meet the requirements as set out in those legislation and regulations."