Curious to see draft plan
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Mayor Todd Case says his council has questions about plans to build part of a 92-turbine wind farm in Warwick Township.
NextEra Energy Canada is holding a public meeting July 17, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Centennial Hall in Watford about its 150-MW Jericho Wind Energy Centre, proposed for the neighbouring communities of Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
“We are in a situation where we have not heard much from this company at all,” Case said.
The township will ask NextEra officials to come to council this summer with information about the turbines they want to build, he said.
“Right now, we don’t know if they’re talking about two, four, six, eight, We have no idea.”
Township officials will also go to the public meeting, he said.
“We look forward to hearing what their plans are, exactly.”
NextEra spokesperson Josie Hernandez said the original plan for the Jericho project included Warwick Township but a decision was made later to attempt to locate it entirely in Lambton Shores.
Since then, the plan has again shifted and the company’s study area again extends south into Warwick, as far as Egremont Road.
“We realize now,” Hernandez said, “that going back to the original boundaries is best for this project.”
The company has a contract to sell electricity generated by the wind farm into the provincial power grid.
Hernandez said NextEra expects to know where the individual turbines will be placed by the fall , and should be ready to submit project documents to the provincial government at the end of the year.
If Ontario grants NextEra environmental approval in 2013, construction could begin that year, Hernandez said.
“Which would take us to early 2014, when we would be in operation.”
Warwick doesn’t currently have any wind farms and Case said council hasn’t taken a position on them.
“I do have a personal opinion,” Case said. “But I’m going to wait and I’m going to look at the information and see what exactly they’ve got planned.”
NextEra officials have been to Lambton Shores council to talk about the Jericho Wind Centre, including a “community vibrancy fund” the company sets up where it builds wind farms.
“It’s something we’re doing with all of our projects throughout Ontario,” Hernandez said.
“It’s a way for us to say, ‘We’re committed to this community.’”
NextEra contributes $3,500 per megawatt annually to the funds communities can spend on parks, recreation facilities and similar projects, Hernandez said, noting Warwick Township would also be eligible for a fund.