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Invenergy sells wind farm back to earlier owner

by David Meyer

BELWOOD - The selling back of a proposed wind farm to an earlier owner has left opponents of the project wondering what will happen next.

TransCanada Energy Ltd. has “reacquired 100% of the interest in the Belwood Wind Energy Project from Invenergy Canada.”

That statement came not from the buyer, but the seller.

Alissa Krinsky, of Invenergy, a Chicago-based wind energy corporation, said in an interview she alone is permitted to speak on behalf of the company, and she provided a statement that TransCanada was reacquiring the Belwood project. 

Her email statement said, “Currently, a power purchase agreement for this green energy project has not been secured. As a result, the time lines for the potential future development of this project are not known.”

She said Tom Patterson, the manager of Power Renewables at TransCanada Energy Ltd., could provide more details. However, Patterson said in an interview he has little information to offer.

“We don’t have any definitive plans,” he said on Monday afternoon. “We did re-acquire [the project in Belwood] but there isn’t a contract in place. We’re assessing our options.”

Patterson explained TransCanada, whose head office is in Calgary, had “an interest” in the Belwood project in 2008 and applied to the province for a contract to supply hydro, but was unsuccessful. In 2009, it sold the project to Invenergy, but TransCanada “had the right to re-acquire it and we did so late last year.”

Patterson said there is “no power capacity attached” to TransCanada’s plan and he is unsure about its size, but said it would be “fairly modest. It’s not in the hundreds of megawatts.”

Invenergy Wind Canada ULC had proposed a wind farm with between 25 and 35 turbines, approximately five kilometres northwest of Belwood, an area within the Townships of Centre Wellington and East Garafraxa, in Wellington and Dufferin Counties.

The boundaries for the project include Sideroad 15 to Sideroad 25, along Wellington County Road 16. From there, the project runs northeast along the West Garafraxa and East Luther Grand Valley boundary road to the 10th Line in East Garafraxa, and then southeast to Sideroad 10 in East Garafraxa, and westward to the Garafraxa boundary line. Another, smaller parcel, runs southeast from Sideroad 10 in East Garafraxa to Dufferin County Road 3, just below Marsville.

The major components of the project had included wind turbines and:

- 690V /34.5 kV step up transformers (located at the base of each turbine);

- 34.5 kV collection system to link the wind turbines to the substation. Those lines are expected to be primarily below ground on private land and overhead lines along municipal road right-of-ways;

- a substation (to step up the electric output from 34.5 kV to 230 kV);

- a switching station at the point of connection with the provincial grid;

- turbine access roads;

- one meteorological tower (which is already installed and operating);

- staging areas for assembly of wind turbines, only during construction; and

- a temporary concrete batch plant (required only if concrete cannot be sourced through local suppliers).

The proposed towers were to be approximately 80 to 100 metres high, and the length of the rotor blades was 40 to 50 metres. The land base required for each turbine, excluding the access road, is less than half an acre (0.25 acres excavation, 0.15 acres maintenance clearing) once in operation.

The latest purchase has left local opponents of the project puzzled about what will come next.

Janet Vallery, of Oppose Belwood Wind Farms, said on Monday the group learned about the sale with a check on the Invenergy web site, but that was just a notice about the sale. “We haven’t had any contact” with TransCanada officials. We did find out that TransCanada also owns a natural gas plant in Halton Hills. They will be doing natural gas back-up” for the turbines.

She added that “wind is not efficient” and about 60% of the power generated by turbines will come from using natural gas.

She criticized the provincial government for its payment schedule to wind companies, which has the province, and then hydro customers, paying much more than the actual cost of producing hydro power. The Liberal government has announced that, in the year of a provincial election, it is sending a booklet to every household in Ontario to explain why the cost of power has to rise. Estimates are that mailing project will cost taxpayers $1-million.

“It’s an unfortunate scam” said Vallery of the province’s hydro proposals.

She said selling and re–selling wind farm projects makes it difficult for opponents to keep up with companies’ plans. “Our knowledge only comes with they post public meeting [advertisements] in the local newspapers.”

Patterson said, “We will communicate with the public when we gave a sense of what the project is and when we will proceed.”



Vol 44 Issue 06


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