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Cornwall NewsWatch, April 21, 2015

Next South Dundas wind farm could be four-fold of South Branch: EDP

EDP Renewables Project Manager Ken Little, left, and Deputy Project Director Thomas LoTurco make a presentation to South Dundas council April 21, 2015. The company responsible for the South Branch Wind Farm is planning on building another farm east and north of Brinston, Ont. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

MORRISBURG – The next wind farm in South Dundas could be up to four times the size of the South Branch Wind Farm, township officials heard Tuesday night.

EDP Renewables made a presentation to council to update the municipality on its next steps to build another wind farm in the county and ask for its support for the project through a “community support resolution.”

While no decisions were made Tuesday night, it’s unlikely that South Dundas will put pen to paper to back the wind farm as it signed a resolution in the fall of 2013 to tell the Ontario government is was a non-willing participant in wind energy.

EDP already has a 10 turbine, 30 megawatt operation – the South Branch Wind Farm – near Brinston.

Spokesman Ken Little says they will have a better idea how big the project will be when the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) publishes the grid connection availability, expected on May 22, 2015.

But, based on EDP calculations, they are assuming the capacity will be 50-100 megawatts, which could be serviced by 40 windmills.

Unlike the South Branch Wind Farm, this next farm is part of a competitive bid process and not under the Ontario government’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) program.

It would be east of the South Branch Wind Farm and would stretch in a northeasterly direction toward Winchester Springs.

Little says it’s likely the area would also be eligible for a community investment fund, similar to the one in Brinston, of $1,000 per megawatt per year for 20 years.

He also alluded to jobs, saying the operations are supported right now out of their New York office. “If we were to have another project in the area we would be talking about our own fully-dedicated operational staff full-time for those projects as well.”

“We’re going to start our public open houses in late May,” Little told council Tuesday night. “These will be general in format just to discuss the project and folks to ask questions.” Dates haven’t been set but they will mostly like be held at Matilda Hall or the Dixons Corners Municipal Center.

Little says there’s going to be a bigger demand for wind power in the years ahead. “With the Ontario energy surplus, it’s always a hot topic for discussion, it’s something where were closely getting to a window where that surplus will no longer be a surplus,” he said. The Pickering nuclear plant will be shut down in 2020 and 10 Bruce and Darlington nuclear plants, will be cycled off for rebuilds between 2017-2028, he explained.

For the green energy skeptics and the curious, EDP officials say the existing operation in Brinston is open for tours from the public at any time.

EDITOR’S NOTE: EDP is referring to the issue of surplus power in Ontario because that is the fact that the South Dundas unwilling host motion hinges on. The truth is, wind power–produced out-of-phase with demand, intermittent and unreliable–cannot replace the nuclear plants during their period of refurbishment. That would more likely be achieved by the natural gas plant at Lennox, and hydro.

An information evening will be held May 6th in Finch at the Lions Arena, at 7 PM.