By Tom Collins
THE NATION — The Nation Municipality, east of Ottawa, is no longer a willing host to wind turbines, with the mayor saying public opinion swayed council.
There are two area wind project proposals: a 40-megawatt project (15 turbines) by Renewable Energy Systems Canada in Nation Municipality and Champlain Township, and a 150-megawatt project (35-50 turbines) by EDF EN Canada Development in the Nation Municipality, the Township of Alfred-Plantagenet, Russell and North Stormont and townships.
Nation council voted Aug. 10 in favour of becoming an unwilling host, after originally voting to support turbines on Jan. 16, 2014.
Nation mayor Francois St. Amour said the initial approval was to allow the municipality a chance to negotiate with wind developers to share in the profits. But since then, 70 per cent of residents have come out against turbines.
“For myself, it was numbers driven,” he said about the switch. “There’s just too many people against the turbines.”
St. Amour was also upset that EDF originally offered the municipality $150,000 a year, but offered North Stormont $300,000. The developer changed its amount for the Nation to $300,000 annually in early August, but the final amount is dependent on the amount of megawatts of energy produced.
St. Amour is confident that the projects for the Nation won’t have successful bids since they don’t have the support of the community. He’s heard that the province is auctioning about 300 megawatts for this round of projects, and according to the Independent Electricity System Operator, which plans for Ontario’s current and future energy needs, there are enough applications to generate 4,067 megawatts. These projects include solar, wind, water power and renewable biomass.
There are now 91 of more than 400 Ontario municipalities that have declared themselves as unwilling hosts to turbines. But the designation has no teeth as the province can approve wind projects without say from municipalities.