Wind announcement raises questions, and doubts
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Ontario’s pledge to increase local control over large wind and solar farms is “a lot of smoke and mirrors,” says one Lambton County anti-wind activist. Marcelle Brooks, a rural Lambton Shores resident with the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, dismissed Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli’s announcement Thursday that municipalities will have a greater role in where future large renewable energy projects locate.
“There’s not a lot of credibility here,” Brooks said. “Truly, did they change direction, or did they just put a new spin on it?” Chiarelli said Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) system for awarding renewable energy contracts will be replaced, for large projects over 500 kilowatts, with a new competitive process where the government says wind companies will be required to work with municipalities on locations and site requirements.
The change comes as a growing number of municipalities are declaring themselves unwilling hosts for wind farms, and some mayors are saying Ontario’s wind energy push is dividing their communities. The Liberals lost the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex riding, and other rural seats, in the last provincial election. Brooks said Thursday’s announcementsdoes nothing for residents opposed to projects that already have FIT contracts, including Nextera and Suncor’s proposals to build a total of nearly 140 turbines in Lambton Shores, Plympton-Wyoming and Warwick Township. Read article