‘No Availability’: Hopes dim for South Dundas wind power

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Turbines at the South Branch Wind Farm near Brinston. (Photo/EDP Renewables)

SOUTH DUNDAS – The province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has given South Dundas slim to virtually no chance of having more renewable energy projects.

The Circuit and Station Transmission Availability Tables released Friday by the IESO shows “No Availability” for the five transmission circuits serving the Brinston-area of South Dundas.

The report has likely left plans for two windmill projects in that area of South Dundas twisting in the wind.

EDP Renewables had planned a 50-100 megawatt windmill project northeast of Brinston, which would have been serviced by 40 windmills. Despite repeated calls and emails from Cornwall Newswatch, Project Manager Ken Little has not responded.

Chicago-based Invenergy wanted a slightly smaller project of 50-90 megawatts serviced by 20-25 windmills. The Nine Mile Wind Project would be west of Brinston.

“Invenergy has received the transmission availability report from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), and we are reviewing the connection options for the Nine Mile Project. (We will) have no further comment until our assessment is complete,” a company spokeswoman said in an email to Cornwall Newswatch.

IESO spokeswoman Alexandra Campbell says, while the table will show no circuit availability, a company can still apply. She says the tables are a snapshot in time and are based on a conservative estimate for power needs. Campbell called them “guidelines.”

“A proponent can still apply for a contract with a project on one of those circuits and, based on the specifics of that project, still may get a contract…and that project may be able to connect,” she said.

Campbell says the IESO availability tables are guidelines and will point out what areas are “a little tighter than others. But no availability doesn’t necessarily mean no projects at all can connect.”

The tables show no availability on the five circuits for Brinston. The area does have the capacity though to handle 550 more megawatts of power. There are many other areas, predominately in southwestern Ontario, where the chances are higher a contract could go ahead.

Certainly this is a factor they (the companies) need to consider. In an area where there may be a lot of availability there’s certainly a much greater likelihood of there not being any barriers with the specific issue of connection (to the circuit)…lower availability is certainly one aspect that needs to be considered by a proponent,” Campbell said.

EDP Renewables and Invenergy are two of 42 companies qualified in Ontario to put in contracts. They have until Sept. 1 to decide whether to put in a request for proposal (RFP).

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