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Renewable energy projects approved by Prince Edward County city council

By Sean Cann-Sheppard [1] and Vanessa Stark [2]

PICTON – Prince Edward County council approved two new removable energy projects on Tuesday night.

The first project proposed a 500 kilowatt solar panel project be put in on Airport Road and was presented by Compass Energy Consulting Inc. The second proposal was made by a local landowner representing himself.

Both applicants stated that their projects would not harm any farm land as the ground is not fertile enough to support crops.

Ian Howes, managing consultant of Compass, said a hedge will be put around his proposed project to cover the sight of the panels from the road.

If approved, the project would be funded through Compass and will cost about $1.5 million, 50 per cent of which would go toward hiring locally sourced seasonal work as well as using Ontario products and materials for the site.

“We will proceed if we are successful sometime next summer and enter into engineering design and further development approvals after that we will begin construction and commercial operations,” Howes said.

He says that the installation portion of the project should only take about three to four months.

Howes also mentioned that Compass is looking to put up an additional 1o projects in the area that generate about 500 kilowatts of energy.

The second proposal made by a local land owner was also passed. He was looking to build a small, 250 kilowatt solar project on a 1.5 acre portion of his land

Councillor Kevin Gale raised the concern of potential expansion of the second site. He said that if the project was approved and the decision was made to expand the project after approval, it could cause disruptions with local residents in the area. During a question period, council was assured by the planning committee that any expansion of this site would need to go through the council again for approval.

While approved by council, the applicants still need to get approval from the province under a renewable energy program,

Applicants who go through local governments for approval receive priority [3], moving them up on the list of projects as decided by Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, who is currently overseeing this program.

Once construction is complete, the energy generated will go back to the province and redistributed as they see fit.

Three percent of the revenue will go back to the municipality and an additional three per cent goes to the landowner as rent.