Second wind farm proposal going ahead in South Dundas

EDP Renewables spokesman Tom LoTurco, right, seen here with Ken Little during a presentation to South Dundas council in April. LoTurco was back at council July 21, 2015 asking for a support resolution for their wind farm project. Council is waiting on a decision until a public meeting Aug. 5 at Matilda Hall in Brinston. (Cornwall Newswatch/File)

SOUTH DUNDAS – EDP Renewables is moving ahead with a proposal for another wind farm in the township – but getting support from politicians doesn’t appear to be easy-breezy.

The company was back before South Dundas council Tuesday night looking for a support resolution for its competitive bid for another wind farm.

It would be called the South Branch II Wind Farm and would be located north and west of Brinston, next to the existing South Branch Wind Farm.

EDP’s proposed submission is for a 75 megawatt wind farm, which would be 24-36 windmills spread over 7,000 acres.

Company spokesman Tom LoTurco didn’t waste time dismissing an Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) report suggesting there is no availability on the electrical grid in Brinston.

“One of the things that has been going through the media a little bit is the on-the-grid connection,” LoTurco told councillors.

“The IESO indicated on transmission availability tables there was no availability on (the grid around Brinston). What I wanted to do is reiterate…that’s just a snapshot in time,” LoTurco told council, explaining that the tables are recalculated during the bid process and their company believes there will be 100 megawatts of availability.

LoTurco bases his confidence on an IESO feasibility study on transmission lines. “Their engineers have indicated there’s a hundred megawatts available in total on those lines.”

LoTurco also outlined the benefits for South Dundas including another Community Benefit Fund of $1.8 million over 25 years (similar to South Branch Wind Farm), a Municipal Benefit Fund of $6.5 million, $2.7 million in property taxes, compensation for road damage and over $4 million in local construction investment.

“We’re getting a lot of calls already from different entities wanting to participate in the project,” LoTurco said, explaining there will be a peak of 100 construction jobs.

The EDP spokesman also threw an economic carrot to politicians, suggesting this project could lead to more permanent full-time jobs in the community because there would be an established wind energy presence in South Dundas.

“When you have an extension of a wind farm you can double-down on your commitment. Basically, what we would plan to do is add more administrative facilities, more logistics and sort of long term jobs. These are good paying jobs.”

But South Dundas council wasn’t ready to give its support to the project Tuesday night, still struggling with the interpretation of its “non-willing host” designation.

Many councillors want to gauge the public’s reaction to the project during an open house in Brinston on Aug. 5 before making a final decision on whether to support EDP at the Aug. 11 council meeting.

EDP has until Sept. 1 to submit its proposal to the IESO.

The bid winners would be revealed in December and, if successful, the project has to be up and running by December 2019.

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