Sackville Town Council heard plans last night from an Ontario-based energy company for a 20MW community wind generating station about 10 kilometres northwest of downtown Sackville.
Prowind Canada Inc. of Hamilton wants to erect six or seven wind turbines off Baseline Road in an area that straddles Sackville’s border about six kilometres from the Walker Road reservoir. The company is a subsidiary of a German firm with a total global capacity of more than 200MW of energy projects.
“We truly believe in community power,” company president Helmut Schneider told council. “We don’t value community projects unless they truly are community projects,” he added.
Schneider said that while they are in Sackville this week, Prowind representatives will be meeting with groups and individuals who may be interested in partnering with the company here. Prowind plans to apply later this month to NB Power’s Renewable Energy Project which aims to develop another 40 MW of small-scale, community-based, power generation.
Prowind’s Ontario project
Rochelle Rumney, the company’s director of project planning, referred to the recently opened 18MW Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm near Woodstock, Ontario that Prowind developed with the Oxford Community Energy Co-operative and the Six Nations First Nation.
Rumney described it as the largest community and indigenous-owned wind farm in Ontario. “It’s the first actually to have the three-way partnership between community, developer and indigenous owners,” she said.
However, Helmut Schneider acknowledged in an interview later that the Gunn’s Hill project generated years of controversy after a local group, known as the East Oxford Community Alliance, vigorously opposed it partly on the grounds that it was too close to farms, homes and airports. Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal dismissed the group’s objections in 2015 allowing the project to proceed.
Sackville’s ideal location
Tom Healy, Prowind’s director of business development, told Sackville councillors that the site off Baseline Road is a good location for a locally owned wind facility because there are access roads and it’s close to transmission lines.
“It’s quite elevated and also quite detached from residential homes so we wouldn’t have the same issues of noise and shadow flicker, that kind of thing,” he added.
Prowind is hoping that private landowners at the site would agree to lease their properties for installation of the turbines.
Town Council also heard that if the project wins approval from NB Power, it could mean up to 200 jobs during nine months of construction and an economic boon for town businesses that would cater to those workers.
The community power project could cost an estimated $40 to $50 million and Prowind hopes it could be completed by the end of 2020.