Getting tough on turbines – Plympton-Wyoming

Plympton-Wyoming wants big money from wind operators

By Heather Wright  Sarnia This Week

PLYMPTON-WYOMING – Plympton-Wyoming says industrial wind turbine operators will have to put down a $200,000 deposit for each of the massive energy makers before any soil is turned.

It’s one of two new standards the township council passed recently in an effort to “protect our people,” according to Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper.

After the province passed the Green Energy Act, municipalities had very little say in where or how many industrial wind turbines would be erected in the territory. Suncor currently plans a 29 turbine project in Plympton-Wyoming, a move Napper is worried about.

In January, council passed the bylaw calling for the $200,000 deposit reasoning there had to be money available so the turbines could be dismantled if, in 20 years, the original owners abandon the machinery.

For Suncor, that would mean cutting a $5.8 million check to Plympton-Wyoming.

“We thought with all the companies coming in – we don’t know these companies – if the turbines have to be removed, it gives you some security,” says Napper. “We want the assurance that if some company comes in and puts up forty of them, (and) they’re gone – when they are worn out – what do you do with them?

“We want to make sure we have some protection.”

Napper’s concerns of abandoned wind turbines are not unfounded. A recent report by Minnesotans for Global Warming says in the last 30 years, 14,000 turbines have been abandoned in the United States.

The $200,000 security may seem like a lot, but wind energy opponents argue it will costs thousands to take down the 300 tonne structures and dig up the tonnes of concrete in the ground which supports them.

The big deposit is one of two salvos fired at the wind industry. Plympton-Wyoming has changed its planning bylaw to force turbines 2,000 meters from homes – nearly three times more than the provincial setback limit of 550 meters.

Napper says under the Green Energy Act the municipality has very little control over where the turbines go and companies “just put them on top of everything.

“We didn’t want them jammed right on top of people,” says the mayor. “I’m not satisfied that there aren’t health concerns out there – all I want is some safety for our people.”

Wind opponents are applauding the move. Marcelle Brooks of the Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group says municipalities have to start standing up to the wind industry to protect their rights. She says municipalities deserve compensation for the damage done to municipal roads while the turbines are erected and the hazards which they create.

“Protect our municipality from the development of these installations,” says Brooks. “We need to make sure that residents are not on the hook to rebuild roads or to take down turbines when the subsidies are gone and everybody takes off.”

And while wind opponents are applauding Plympton-Wyoming’s moves, its not clear if the municipality will be able to enforce the new set back limits. But Napper says council felt it had to take a stand.

“The (provincial) government seems to be very adamant about what they’re doing. We’re going to be adamant about what we’re doing,” says Napper. “We’re going to protect our people.”

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Posted on March 1, 2012, in Cedar Point Project, Churchill Project, Economics, Municipalities, Safety, Sarnia This Week, Suncor, TCI Renewables and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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