Group promises 1,000 will attend public meeting for turbine company

The Oppose Belwood Wind Farm Association is expecting 1,000 people to attend the final public meeting for the Springwood wind farm planned near Fergus.

The group stated in a press release, “Many believe that the Springwood wind farm proposed near Lake Belwood, Fergus, and the beautiful Elora Gorge area by wpd Canada Corporation, a huge German multinational, is merely the tip of the iceberg. The four proposed turbines are massive 480 feet high industrial turbines, the height of 50 storey office towers with the rotating span of a 747.”

Organizers concluded “Although many wind farm companies have yet to publicly disclose their plans, the Shelburne experience shows that a small wind farm can quickly grow into a massive wind farm in spite of concerns for the health and opposition of local communities.

The residents will be mounting a response at the final public meeting this Friday from 5:30 to 8pm at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex at 550 Belsyde Ave. E., in Fergus.

Another campaign

Meanwhile, it is possible turbine opponents could meet a wind energy supporter.

A farmer and mom from Kincardine is on a southern Ontario tour to transform perceptions on how Ontario thinks about wind energy.

Jutta Splettstoesser is bringing her message of co-operation to the Wellington-Guelph area this Friday. The press release announcing her tour did not say if she would be in Fergus this Friday to support the company at its final public meeting.

“Wind development and community can work together,” said Splettstoesser, president of Friends of Wind Ontario (FoWO). “With smart planning and open communications, wind energy development in rural Ontario can be a win-win. Renewable energy is the way of the future and rather than push back against it, we need to help communities be a part of the new energy conversation.”

Since June, FoWO has organized a series of events across southern Ontario. Over 500 people have attended meetings in Clinton, Chatham, London and Port Albert to hear speakers from the science, business, utility and government sectors. Those events were organized to help communities learn the facts about renewable energy and wind development.

“The bridge-building that Friends of Wind Ontario is doing is making a difference in how communities talk about energy,” said Adrienne Downey, operations and business development manager from Enercon Canada Inc. “We need to hear from everyone in a community about their opinions of wind energy. In many communities that hasn’t been able to happen. The open and respectful approach to engagement that Friends of Wind uses is good for communities and the wind sector.”

The press release stated that Friends of Wind Ontario (FoWO) is an independent and grassroots organization of wind enthusiasts from across Ontario.

Government announcement

The provincial government has announced it is moving forward with its commitment to review its clean energy Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program.

When it launched in 2009, it included a commitment to review FIT every two years. That commitment was included in the province’s long-term energy plan, released last November. The review will consider a range of issues, such as:

– FIT price reduction;

– ensuring the long-term sustainability of clean energy procurement;

– continuing to build on the success of Ontario-based manufacturing and clean energy job creation;

– consideration of new technologies and fuel sources; and

– local consultations and the renewable approval process.

As a result of the review, new prices for FIT contracts will be developed to balance the interests of ratepayers with the need to encourage investment in new energy in Ontario. All future clean energy contracts will be subject to the new price schedule.

Ontarians can provide feedback by answering an online survey or making a written submission at until Dec. 14.