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County residents tell council there’s too many solar projects

County council members at today’s committee of the whole meeting heard from citizens concerned about large solar projects in the County.

There are three major solar projects operating within a five kilometre radius of Hwy 62 west and east and two more in the Skypower group of six are to be located in that same five kilometre radius.

Carol Page-Heyding and Kathleen Hegedus-Beeksma presented a deputation regarding the proliferation of solar projects in Sophiasburgh.

They stated that if Skypower’s “pureLight” 8MW project is granted a contract, it will sit next to Canadian Solar’s 9MW project, resulting in approximately 170 acres of continuous solar, 85,000 solar panels, 6000 drilled steel posts, 36 aluminum inverter garages, two gravel set-down areas, two sub-stations and two communication towers.”

“If the two Skypower projects proposed for Sophiasburgh are approved it will make a total of six large-scale projects within close proximity to our neighbourhood.”

Belleville North – Burr Road
Belleville South – Burr Road
Jericho Road – proposed
Black and Doxsee – proposed
Belleville TS Demorestville – Black Road
Sunny Shores – Cty 5 and Fry Road

“Additionally, there are 10 five to eight acre projects approved by council in January 2013 for construction in our neighbourhood.”

They also noted harm to a number of endangered and species at risk, problems with toxins in wells, concerns about risks with water sources, damage to roads and decreased real estate values.

“We have already lost 90 acres. We can’t lose more…

“Our community worked hard to obtain mitigation from SunEdison/Canadian Solar. For example, we asked security lighting be directed into the compound. It isn’t. We asked the project be moved back from the road 50m. It was moved 20 m. We asked that the chain-link fence be black instead of grey. They did that.”

The two also noted requests for landscaping, specifically a berm, and though there was a partial berm created, the plantings do not resemble plans and many of the plantings are dead or dying.

“We need to keep in mind the cumulative effect of these projects… If these six are approved, that will be 11 across the County, equalling approximately 1100 acres. If we add that to the five to eight acres projects that would be more than 1200 acres lost.”

Garth Manning, in his deputation, noted he was not present on behalf of any organization.

He said solar power paid at the rate of about 27 cents per kilowatt hour, is “far more than the cost of power produced by water or nuclear or natural gas. Because solar power can’t be stored, it has immediate access to the grid. Ontario has had for some time, and will continue to have, a surplus of power which it exports to neighbouring provinces and states on a daily basis at a price always less than the cost of production.”

He noted that situation, according to the report of the Auditor-General in 2014, has amounted to $2.6 billion between 2006 and 2013.

“It may come as a great surprise to you to know that there are people who don’t give a hoot about the size of council, but care greatly about its calibre, effectiveness and courage,” Manning said in his deputation. “I am one of those people and believe that as present constituted you can be both effective and courageous. I ask you to be both in telling Skypower in direct language what they can do with their projects and with their expected “inducement” or “vibrancy fund” contribution, more usually called a bribe.”

Carol Page-Heyding and Kathleen Hegedus-Beeksma provided a map showing existing projects in green; the five to eight acre approved projects in orange and the large scale project in red.

solar-map

 

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  1. Taffy says:

    Well, Ian, the man is actually from well away, namely Wales and England, but has been a proud Canadian for over half a century and an equally proud full time resident of the County for over 10 years. As Steve Campbell so well said, he comes from the 90% of relative newcomers who “get” and appreciate the County, while you equally obviously belong to the 10% of so called local people who don’t. Your statement is meaningless and unbelievably small minded and parochial. The man, in his deputation, made rational, supportable points. Were you there? Did you read them?

  2. Ian says:

    Well this finally puts the County vs. Away debate to rest.

    The man who is trying to prevent us from using infertile land to produce carbon-free energy isn’t from Toronto.

    He’s from Etobicoke.

  3. Lyn says:

    We have so much vacant, or unused land in the county, I don’t see why it can’t be used for solar energy. You can hardly notice the one on Highway 62. If proposed solar sites are built, they should perhaps be set back from the roads so they are not as visible. In Scandinavia the government is putting solar panels on everyone’s homes. A great way to bring down hydro costs.

  4. Sam says:

    Pickering nuclear is already operating beyond its recommended service life. Its generating approval has been extended for a couple more years because there is not enough power available without it. Even though there may be a temporary surplus of electricity in Ontario that is only a short-term situation as we bring on new sources of generation to prepare for the Pickering shutdown. Solar is a good fit as it only produces electricity during the daytime when it is needed the most. It is typically through the night that we selloff electricity at a loss, and this is due to the nuclear generators and not the solar.

    As for price, Garth Manning talks about $0.27 per kWh being paid for solar. However, under the new system of “competitive procurement” the generating contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder. Nobody knows at this time what projects will have the winning bid and what the final price will be. Additionally, the nuclear and fossil fuel generators are heavily subsidized while the solar producers are paid only for what they generate.

    Even at the old price of $0.27 per kWh, solar is still significantly less expensive than would be new nuclear generation.

    Finally, the price paid to solar is contracted for 20 years. While it may seem a bit expensive right now, in 5 years it will likely be on par with the fossil fuelled generators and in 20 years it will be the best deal available. There is no price volatility in solar panel fuel.

  5. Susan says:

    This Council won’t do squat about solar ravaging the land! I saw their 4 proposals for Council size reduction and all are nothing more than an exercise to the public. No voting at large where everyone’s vote carries equal weight! Very disappointed thus far. It’s like we were amalgamated but our Council is still representing little outdated townships! If they can’t get over the former townships then any attempt at correction to representation is nothing more than hot air.

  6. Young family of four says:

    If we really don’t need this power and sell it at a loss then we should certainly stop now. Or are their plans to be closing other dirtier power sources and this will be needed in the near future ?
    Either way, the panels around county road 2 north of Wellington is probably the ugliest sight in the county, glad I don’t have to drive that way often.

  7. Mark Rose says:

    Yes, probably a coincidence, Chicken Little.

  8. Emily says:

    Most of these industrial solar earth scarring projects seem to be on the property of or closeby to our former Conservative MPP. Coincidence?

  9. Susan says:

    Garth’s reference was County Council (NOT WARD COUNCIL) debating council size tonight while roads are beyond repair, water front taxes force seniors to leave their land, water & waste water rates in Picton stall any new development, we lost our CAO and have no replacement, and we are a wasteland for solar projects particularly around a former MPP’s property in Sophiasburgh! Hope they deal with Council size tonight so they can get down to some real business.

  10. Mark says:

    Good deputation folks. And I like Garth telling it like it is! Industrial solar for very expensive power we do not require.

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