“There is a certain level of frustration with the City…” NMEPC

wind farm development
This is a picture from a wind turbine construction site at Backbone Mountain, Tucker County, West Virgina. - Photo from FNMEP
wind farm development
This is a picture from a wind turbine construction site at Backbone Mountain, Tucker County, West Virgina. - Photo from NMEPC

THUNDER BAY – The Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee has issued a public statement on the wind farm project slated for The Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment.

Here is the text of that statement:

The Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee is surprised and confused about the brand new project Horizon Wind has developed and placed on their website for public review. This substantially changed project information will be very confusing to citizens of Thunder Bay and therefore must be presented as a new development proposal.

NMEPC co-chairs note, “There is a certain level of frustration with the City, who surely must have been aware that the proponent was proposing to use new turbine sizes, and could have fulfilled its 27 Megawatt original project with 14 towers. The 4 tower locations the City had expressed concerns with are not even required! Instead we now have a 36 Megawatt project with more towers, increased heights, and exclusive access provided through Loch Lomond Road. It seems that the lawsuit was obviously not needed, and that the City of Thunder Bay wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers – money which could have been used on better things.

One must question where the loyalty of the City lies – with the people of Thunder Bay or with Horizon?”

There is significant frustration with the developer as well. Mike Payne, NMEPC Co-Chair reports, “We have not received any response to our numerous and specific concerns, inquiries and offers to meet over the last year and a half. We now understand this proponent is presenting a brand new project as if it were a simple minor revision!”

The City of Thunder Bay City Council recently voted to reach a settlement with Horizon Wind regarding the $126 million lawsuit. That settlement includes a number of provisions that dramatically alter this project, and allow significant alterations in the future – making this an entirely new project. Payne adds, “We are concerned that this new project will proceed in the approvals process without allowing for proper and reasonable public consultation.”

The significant changes proposed are as follows;

1. Number of towers- will it be 8, 16, 18, or 52 towers? 2. Locations of towers- some towers are relocated kilometers from their original “micro sites”, now all towers can be moved 200 meters in any direction at any time under new Thunder Bay/Horizon agreement 3. Significantly greater tower heights, increased from 141 meters to 186 meters, and some identified as unlimited height restriction! 4. New access road location- Loch Lomond Road access will impact people that have not been concerned or contacted to date 5. Power level of turbines (and noise levels), some turbines 33% greater power- this would mean new noise studies and impacts should be undertaken.

6. New project total size – 8 MW, or 16.5 MW or 27 MW or 36 MW, or 79 MW as identified to the citizens of Thunder Bay 7. Unexplained transmission connections for the various project proposals – what are the connections for the various stages.

8. New additional substation with unexplained locations and ramifications.

Payne states, “Even ONE of the changes noted above could radically change the project and impacts. More than one change is assuredly significant and should require the proponent to start its consultation process as a NEW Project. This is a new project, new in scale, new in scope and new in impacts.”

NMEPC’s position is that this a totally different project, and therefore should be re-submitted as an entirely brand new project; and the consultation process should start anew.

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