Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sudbury backs out of windfarm in 2004

photo by: rasmithuk

COPYRIGHT 2004 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.

The City of Greater Sudbury has backed out of a joint-venture partnership with Northland Power Inc. to develop a wind farm on Manitoulin Island.

The proposed 54-megawatt MacLean Mountain site just south of Little Current is one of the most advanced wind power projects in Ontario, but Sudbury Mayor Dave Courtemanche believes the city can make better headway in the wind energy market with projects closer to home.

"This particular initiative fell outside our boundaries and council was not comfortable making that kind of investment in a project outside city boundaries."

Council reached the decision during this past spring's budget talks in a closed-door session.

The $97-million Little Current project, which is currently undergoing a provincial environmental assessment, is expected to be operational by summer 2005.

The project's details were slated to be laid out during a June 30 public information session in Little Current.

Sudbury's financial commitment in the project was to have included grant money secured from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities green energy fund.

Courtemanche says the funds could be better spent on other eco-industry initiatives such as the biodiesel program and a Sudbury-based wind farm.

"I think the wind capacity here is good enough that it's worth exploring and looking for partners who want to pursue that locally," says Courtemanche, adding it is a "great opportunity" to explore possibilities with local industry, such as mining giants Inco and Falconbridge "who could really benefit from this type of project."

In October 2002 Sudbury selected Northland Power from 20 proposals submitted from some major electricity generation and wind-power developers in North America and Europe.

"Council will work on other energy projects and certainly feeling it is likely to be a different outcome for projects within our political boundaries," adds Paul Graham, the city's plant engineer and a project lead in the Earthcare Sudbury green energy initiative.

Graham says the city remains in a partnership with Northland Power, looking at opportunities within Sudbury's political boundaries. Sudbury continues to work with Northland on a wind assessment study, comparing data from the city's monitoring sites with other "surrogate sites" such as the Sudbury Airport, which has wind records dating back to 1954, to allow them to do a better job in long-range forecasting.

The city is looking for possible land arrangements for a wind farm, and is finalizing the business plan to identify what is needed from a power-purchase point of view.

Graham would not confirm if the City of Ottawa has swooped in and signed a partnership agreement with Northland to develop the MacLean Mountain site.


Northern Ontario Business

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