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Council to review comments for MOE on solar project

At Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting, council will review a report regarding the FotoLight  Solar Power Project at Chuckery Hill that sets out comments to be directed to the Ministry of Environment.

The Engineering, Development and Works Commission report states the  project is on four leased and owned properties on Chuckery Hill Road at the intersection with Rosseau Road. It is to consist of 30,000 to 100,000 ground mounted solar panels on fixed racking systems attached to steel supports with an installed capacity of up to 11.5MW. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2013 creating up to 100 local jobs over six to nine months.

The report’s purpose is to identify matters recommended to FotoLight LP/SkyPower Ltd that have the potential to effect the operations, infrastructure and services provided by the County. The Ontario Green Energy and Green Economy Act passed in May 2009 moves decisions regarding renewable energy projects to the province. The provincial approval process includes a requirement for both municipal consultation and public consultation in the initial stages of the approval process. Comments received are to be considered part of the approval process.

The County will ask for additional municipal approvals, permits and authorizations for overweight and oversize load permits, approved routes of travel and no heavy equipment during the reduced load period. The County seeks a pre-development agreement for recovery of municipal costs associated with the project from review to decommissioning; a traffic management plan and sufficient security to cover the cost of any damanges; stormwater management, grading and soil containment, contingency and emergency response plans.

The County asks that the province develop a regulation requiring annual payment to the municipality from renewable energy projects  in the amount of $7,500 per megawatt plus profit sharing based on four per cent of output and that the province also create decommissioning plans and rehabilitation funds.

The site will also include approximately 17 inverter units; a double-walled transformer substation; two main access roads from Chuckery Hill and interior gravel access roads for on-going maintenance; a 2.7 metre high chain link fence and a locked gated entrance with three-strand barbed wire on top; security lights, a communications tower installed and operated by Hydro One for emergency disconnect purposes only; electrical equipment and systems required for interconnection to the grid. Site restoration and reclamation is planned for “as much of the project as possible, incluidng along access roads”.

The County will also ask the province to require identification of, and mitigation measures to address the impact on the County’s economy, particularly tourism-dependent business sector during the construction phase.

FotoLight Solar Power Project is hosting a second public information session Wednesday, Aug. 22 6-8pm at the Picton Town Hall

Full report here:

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