Money in the wind

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What are expected to be among the final wind farm projects in Chatham-Kent could bring the community more than $20 million during the life of the projects, according to documents filed with the municipality.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) last week approved the Romney Wind Energy Centre and the Otter Creek Wind Farm.

An application for a further development of 90 turbines in the former Chatham and Dover townships in North Kent for 90 turbines is being prepared for IESO approval.

The Romney Centre by EDF EN Canada Inc. would see development of a 100-megawatt project spanning 10,000 acres covering the southwest corner of Chatham-Kent, north of Wheatley, a section of Leamington, as well as some of the easterly boundary of Lakeshore.

About 20 of the turbines would be located in the former Romney Township.

The 50-megawatt Otter Creek Wind Farm will mean installation of 20 wind turbines to an area north of Wallaceburg through Renewable Energy Systems Canada (RES) and Boralex.

All three projects were endorsed by Chatham-Kent council last year; North Kent in March, Romney in June and Otter Creek in July.

According to council documents, North Kent will bring in $4 million in community benefits, Romney $3 million and Otter Creek $1.5 million.

In addition, Entegrus, the municipality’s electrical supply firm, has an option to purchase 15 per cent in the North Kent and Otter Creek projects and nine per cent in the Romney venture. Those projects could bring in nearly $7 million in dividends).

The Walpole Island First Nation has an opportunity to purchase a percentage of the Otter Creek farm.

The amounts are exclusive of permits, taxes and fees that could drive the annual total by as much as $500,000.

IESO president Bruce Cambell said in a media release that the process involved in approving the projects helps keep costs down.

“This LRP (Large Renewable Procurement) process introduced strong competition among developers of large renewable projects, helping to drive down price and secure clean, reliable generation for the province.”

He noted that the province received 103 bids for wind-related projects, ensuring a competitive process.

Once contracts are signed, successful bidders will be required to secure environmental and building permits and conduct further community engagement.

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