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Rural municipalities fight wind farms with high fees

John Spears — Toronto Star — March 22, 2013

Two rural Ontario municipalities are putting expensive new hurdles in front of wind farms in their communities.

Councils in Bluewater, on the Lake Huron shoreline, and West Grey, about 165 kilometres northwest of Toronto, have passed bylaws squeezing more money from prospective wind developments.

Politicians say they’re trying to protect the interests of their communities, where many people greet large-scale wind farms with apprehension: West Grey, for example, has formally declared itself an “unwilling host” for big wind farms.

But the wind company in both cases, NextEra Energy Canada, isn’t going quietly.

It has dispatched lawyers from Torys LLP to both councils to argue that the bylaws won’t hold up under Ontario law.

“We believe the law is on our side,” said NextEra spokesman Steve Stengel in an interview from the company’s head office in Florida.

In a letter from Torys to the Bluewater council, the company argues that the new rules “would unlawfully impose financial obligations on NextEra.”

Those obligations aren’t trivial.

Bluewater’s new law would impose a building permit fee of $14,000 per turbine on wind developments. The bylaw also imposes refundable security deposits totaling $420,000 per turbine for decommissioning, health and property damage, and legal fees.

West Grey’s bylaw takes a somewhat different approach.

It would levy fees of about $150,000 on NextEra, West Grey Mayor Kevin Eccles said in an interview.  Continue reading, here….

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One Comment on “Rural municipalities fight wind farms with high fees”

  1. gds44 March 22, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Reblogged this on Gds44's Blog.

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