No wind energy help to be found

Lambton Shores can't find consultants to help review two major projects.Heather Wright Photo

Lambton Shores can’t find consultants to help review two major projects.
Heather Wright Photo

Wind companies seem to have cornered the market on wind experts.

Both Suncor Energy and NextEra Energy are in the final stages of their application for Renewable Energy Approval. Part of the process is to allow municipalities to comment on the plans, including the placement of turbines and terms for using local roads. The plans are contained in three binders and staff wanted some professional help to look through the details and make comments. So Lambton Shores council recently gave staff permission to find consultants to deal with the projects.

But that proved to be almost as difficult as sifting through the project papers. “Staff has been unable to retain the services of a consultant to review the reports as all large engineering firms who have the varied professional staff necessary to review all the aspects of the reports are retained by wind energy companies,” says Senior Planner Patti Richardson in a report to council. All the firms which could have handled the job turned the municipality down saying they would have had a conflict.

Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns Spokesperson Marcelle Brooks is not surprised. “It leaves council in a bit of a bind,” she says. “They want reasonable representation by someone independent but it is really hard to find someone.”

Instead of hiring a consultant, staff is now pouring through the two proposals which could see over 90 wind turbines in Lambton Shores. The report on the project is expected to be discussed by council this month.

– Heather Wright

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