BERWICK — The 30-megawatt Nation Rise wind project is set to break ground on turbine foundations next month in the rural countryside here — right around the same time the Doug Ford Conservatives celebrate one year since their election on a platform staunchly opposed to such initiatives under the previous Liberal regime’s Green Energy Act.
Ken Little of EDP Renewables, associate director with EDP Renewables Canada — the company that is (now) minority stakeholder and developer of the 28 to 33 turbine project — apprised North Stormont council of the ironic construction timeline in a presentation this week.
Little said that site-clearing and preparation will continue through the end of May with a possible start on an access road into a planned electrical substation by then as well. Construction on the actual turbine foundations and the substation, west of Crysler, will begin in June, he reported to a packed Council Chambers, where a large number of the public overflowed available seating into the hallway outside the room. The developer sees the turbines in place and sending power into the grid by December.
“We did have the ability to start construction in limited fashion for May 9th,” Little explained, clarifying this month’s activities have so far involved “people … more or less identifying areas for work to begin.” But with geotechnical approval received this week, “we’ll be moving into more fulsome construction in the next one to three weeks, in terms of starting access roads” and crew facilities, he added.
Though it has “a lot of approvals to go forward now from the Ministry of Environment,” Little conceded the company still awaits some local and South Nation Conservation permits before installing “individual and specific components” of the wind farm. “So while we may have some approvals, if there’s other local permits that we need to have required for that, we will seek to have those permits prior to starting construction, obviously to make sure we’re in compliance with any local regulations on that,” he pledged.
No mention was made of the project opponents’ last-ditch appeal to Ontario’s Minister of Energy to quash the project, whose ruling had yet to be received on the evening of the May 14 council meeting. The Ford government to date has killed more than 750 pending Green Energy Act projects signed by the previous Wynne Liberals.
Little was accompanied at the podium by EDPR’s Tom LoTurco, director of development for the Eastern US and Canada. A couple more of their company colleagues also watched from the sidelines.
See their presentation on the construction schedule, followed by council questions, below.