Wind turbine forums premature, MPP says
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Credit: By Gary Rennie, The Windsor Star, http://www.windsorstar.com 16 April 2010
Essex MPP Bruce Crozier says the proponent of a multibillion-dollar
700-turbine wind energy project for Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair never
got approval to access either of the lakebeds.
Crozier said there isn’t even an official application to the province
for what would be the biggest renewable energy project — 1,400
megawatts — ever pitched in Canada.
Leamington’s SouthPoint Wind should never have begun the public
consultation process that’s generated so much controversy, Crozier
said in a telephone interview Thursday. “There is no application at
Without a “site release approval” from the ministry of natural
resources, the company can’t even make an application to the Ontario
Power Authority for a renewable energy contract, Crozier said. “These
are Crown lands.”
Without an application to the OPA, holding public meetings is
premature, Crozier said.
In newspaper advertisements by the company about its March 27
meetings, ministry logos were wrongly used to give the impression that
a required consultation process was underway, Crozier said.
Crozier said the confusion about the approval process caused by
SouthPoint raises the need for additional regulations under the
province’s Green Energy Act. Some screening process may be needed to
eliminate projects from public review that have no hope of proceeding,
the MPP said.
Lakeshore councillors complained earlier this week that more than 300
of their residents couldn’t get into a 30-seat room booked for its
public meeting on the project. “Those meetings were a sham,” said
Lakeshore Coun. Al Fazio.
But in a letter to Leamington council, SouthPoint Wind president Jim
Liovas described the meetings “as extremely successful in giving the
public an overview of our project description as well as determining
the major areas of concern for local residents.”
In the coming months, Liovas promised to “begin to amass the studies
required” to make an application.
Crozier is warning county municipalities and the Essex Region
Conservation Authority not to spend $250,000 or more on consultants to
study a proposal that hasn’t gone beyond the idea stage.
“I don’t want to see any public funds spent,” Crozier said.