More wind farm plans for S. Dundas, N. Stormont

South Dundas Mayor Evonne Delegarde, left, shakes the hand of EDP Renewables Project Manager Ken Little. The company announced $2.7 million in compensation to Dundas and SD&G for road damage during the construction of the South Branch Wind Farm. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

MORRISBURG – While announcing a settlement for road damage in Dundas county, the company behind a 10 turbine, 30 megawatt wind farm in Brinston is looking to expand.

During a ceremony at the South Dundas Municipal Center Monday afternoon, EDP Renewables paid Dundas and the United Counties of SD&G nearly $2.7 million for road wear when they put up the South Branch Wind Farm near Brinston.

The process started in June 2013 when North Dundas, South Dundas and the United Counties signed road use agreements with EDP.

Following an engineer’s evaluation, EDP agreed to pay South Dundas $868,500, North Dundas $118,590 and the United Counties $1,697,386.

While the Municipality of South Dundas appreciates the money, Public Works Manager Chris Bazinet says the compensation is “just a drop in the bucket” given the cost of the roads and maintaining infrastructure.

While the money can be used at the municipal governments’ discretion, South Dundas Deputy Mayor Jim Locke says the county money is earmarked for South Dundas county roads.

With the damage compensation out of the way, EDP Renewables Project Manager Ken Little says they are looking at options in South Dundas and North Stormont.

Little says the next rollout of wind farms will be a competitive bid process run by the province but it will not fall under the Ontario feed-in-tariff (FIT) model.

He says they have already approached some farms about optioning land, primarily in the area east of South Branch Road in South Dundas.

“(It’s) still an early stage project. But we’re working with the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) to understand what the capacity, availability is in all of Eastern Ontario. So, it’s at a stage where no proponents necessarily know the amount of capacity available for a project to connect to the circuit,” Little said.

He believes a screening process will be completed in May, which will give the public a better idea of the size of project.

Roughly 30-50 wind turbines had been planned for North Stormont but Little suspects the development with South Dundas would be smaller than that.

Bids on the project would be due in September and proposed wind farms would go online in 2018-2019.

Community Benefit Fund

Little says the committee for using the Community Benefit Fund will be meeting next week.

Mayor Evonne Delegarde says South Dundas has already received its payments for 2014 and 2015 (a total of $60,000) from EDP to go toward community projects in the Brinston area.

Those $30,000 payments will continue for 20 years in total.

Delegarde says a half dozen residents have put their name forward to be on the committee.

“We’ve just accepted everyone that has put their name forward and then we will make that announcement once we have the committee established,” she said.

Broken turbine to be repaired within two weeks

EDP Project Manager Ken Little says one of the turbines at the South Branch Wind Farm should be back online within one to two weeks.

The turbine on the Thurler farm has been shut down since January after a main bearing suddenly failed in one of the windmills, cutting power generation by roughly 10 per cent.

The cost of the bearing replacement is being covered by Siemens Canada, the windmill manufacturer.

Little says they will be keeping an eye on the other windmills to see if the problem shows up in the other nine units.

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