MOE approves wind project northeast of Arkona

Wind projects planned for Ontario, including the recently approved Bornish project north east of Arkona.

Wind projects planned for Ontario, including the recently approved Bornish project north east of Arkona.

It wasn’t a surprise but it still disappointed wind activists.

NextEra received approval Friday for the Bornish Wind Energy center, a 45-turbine project northeast of Arkona from the Ministry of the Environment.

Esther Wrightman of Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns has been among the people fighting the project.  She’s frustrated. Wrightman saying looking at the Environmental Registry confirms her suspicion that the Ministry of the Environment simply rubber stamps wind projects. Wrightman says the registry on the Bornish project uses the name of another wind project in Eastern Ontario by mistake.

“These are projects that are going to affect people’s lives and it seems that it’s just a matter of copy and pasting approval lines in it from one to another,” says Wrightman.

“The MOE has never denied a project” she adds. “The system is broken…you don’t have a government agency that can help…you feel quite deserted at the end of the day.”

But Wrightman says there is a possibility the project still won’t go ahead. NextEra is trying to get a transmission line approved to serve Bornish and three other projects including NextEra’s Jericho Wind Energy Center in Lambton Shores and Suncor’s Cedar Point project in Plympton-Wyoming and Lambton Shores.

“I wouldn’t say it is the end…it’s not really the end until the turbines are up,” says Wrightman. “They don’t have the transmission lines figured out; they still have the Ontario Energy Board hearings to go through…I don’t know if it economical for them to go ahead without knowing whether they get their Jericho and Adelaide projects together. Would they start construction if they didn’t know if their transmission lines approved? I don’t know.”

That OEB hearing hasn’t been scheduled yet however the dozens of residents who have objected have hired environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie to represent them. The OEB has ordered NextEra to pay the legal bill.

– Heather Wright