Second wind farm on EDP’s horizon

by Alicia K. Gosselin
Press staff

MORRISBURG – Representatives from EDP Renewables, a global renewable energy company operating more than 30 projects across North America, arrived before South Dundas council members on Tues., July 21 to propose a second wind farm project for the Brinston area, in an effort to “double-down” on their commitment to the community.

The planned South Branch II Wind Farm would be located north and west of Brinston, right next to the South Branch Wind Farm, across approximately 7,000 acres of leased land from more than 20 private property owners.

It’s expected to produce up to 75 megawatts coming from 24 to 36 turbine locations, and at its peak, hold 100 construction jobs.

Tom LoTurco, EDPR’s deputy project director, along with project developer Nathan Roscoe, requested formal support from council for the farm in the form of an Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) resolution.

“When you have an extension of a wind farm, you can double down on your commitment to the community…You can add to your presence,” said LoTurco. “Basically what we would plan to do here is add to that presence…more administrative facilities, more logistics. These are long-term jobs, these are good-paying jobs.”

LoTurco also noted that although a previous IESO report suggested no availability on Brinston’s electrical grid, EDPR has confidence that this calculation is subject to change at the time of the bid submission.
According to LoTurco, EDPR received an IESO feasibility study showing 100 megawatts of capacity on three transmission lines running directly through the proposed area.

“We’re getting a lot of calls already from different entities wanting to participate in the project…So we’re really excited about that,” said LoTurco. “We’ve seen it in a number of locations – people move to the community, buy houses, and people from the community find good-paying jobs.”

The proposed site would bring in about $110,000 in annual taxes to the township, based on a Municipal Property Assessment Corporation assessment.

It would also add several benefits and money pools for the community, including the Community Benefit Fund ($1.8 million for 25 years), the Municipal Benefit Fund ($6.5 million), compensation for road damage ($2.7 million), and investments into local contracting jobs ($4 million).

Now that EDPR’s new business plan is to self-perform all of their operations, the green energy company’s presence within the community would increase and be more efficient, which is a “really positive change,” according to LoTurco.

Council decided to defer the decision to either support or deny the resolution until the next council meeting on Tues., Aug. 11 – after community reactions could be gauged at EDPR’s open house, taking place at Matilda Hall in Dixons Corners on Wed., Aug. 5.

“I want to hear from taxpayers, I want to hear from people that it’s directly affecting,” said Councillor Marc St. Pierre. “I would feel more comfortable after hearing comments – negative or positive – and dealing with this at the next meeting.”

EDPR has until Tues., Sept. 1 to get their submission in to the IESO, and if approved, has until December 2019 until the project comes to fruition.

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