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NEWS: Wind farm on Lake Ontario still in the works for 2014

The Globe and Mail reports, “The one company (Windstream Energy Inc.) that holds a signed contract to build a wind farm in the Great Lakes (specifically Lake Ontario) is going ahead with plans for the project, despite the ban on offshore wind development put in place by the Ontario government earlier this year. (The company) says it could begin construction at a proposed wind farm in Lake Ontario near Kingston as early as 2014, if the province lifts its ban soon. The 300-megawatt wind farm would have as many as 100 turbines, anchored in the lakebed five kilometres off shore.”

“Ontario energy ministry spokesman Andrew Block confirmed that Windstream’s contract was not cancelled, but he said there can’t be further development while studies on the impact of offshore wind projects are under way. The province’s natural resources ministry is conducting several research projects and is collaborating with other agencies and governments to ‘better understand the potential effects of offshore wind-power development on a range of natural resource values,’ he said. …The province has already proposed that no offshore wind turbines be closer than five kilometres from the shore, and Windstream has reconfigured its project for that distance. It had originally planned to build the turbines about two kilometres from shore.”

The Toronto Star adds, “Ontario bureaucrats have been given ‘no firm deadline’ for reporting on the possible health effects of offshore wind turbines, says the Ministry of Natural Resources. But it says one of the studies will take up to three years.” The research includes “a review of the potential effects of offshore wind power development on natural coastal processes (e.g. currents and sediment flow)” and a “study in Lake Ontario assessing the potential electromagnetic impacts of underwater high voltage cables on local fisheries.”

The Council of Canadians strongly supports wind power as a sustainable and green energy alternative to the environmental harms associated with fossil fuels and hydroelectric power. We also recognize that there can be environmental implications that need to be fully considered and addressed before proceeding with any major project and that there are implications of private power generation situated in the Great Lakes commons.

A February 2011 blog on this issue is at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=5479.