Ontario wind project has wind in its sails

By Maura Forrest

February 4, 2015

A new, 91-turbine wind farm is up and running near Lake Huron, Ont.

Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy Group have announced that the 180-megawatt Armow Wind power facility in Kincardine, Ont., is expected to produce enough energy to power about 70,000 homes each year.

“Armow Wind is a great example of how Ontario is changing the future of electricity,” said Pattern Development CEO Mike Garland in a news release. “Armow Wind is a project that produces clean, renewable energy and that was built by Ontario workers with Ontario-made wind turbine components.”

The project created more than 350 jobs during peak construction. The wind turbine towers were made in Windsor, while the blades were manufactured in Tillsonburg.

The owners expect the wind farm to generate more than $75 million over 20 years in property taxes, landowner lease royalties and community benefits for Kincardine. The project has also committed $13.6 million to the Municipality of Kincardine as part of a community benefit program. That includes $1 million that will be used to improve operations at the local airport.

Before the benefit program was established, the Municipality of Kincardine had expressed concerns about the safety of the project and its proximity to the airport.

The facility has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator. However, the project would not have been eligible for the province’s feed-in tariff program, which offers guaranteed rates to renewable energy projects that are between 10 and 500 kilowatts. Larger projects like Armow Wind used to be eligible for the feed-in tariff program, but it was scaled back to exclude large developments in 2013.

Armow Wind also made news when four rural families, including one from Kincardine, argued in Ontario Divisional Court that the province’s turbine-approvals process is unconstitutional. They worried that wind projects like Armow Wind could cause serious harm to their health, and wanted to have the projects scuttled. Their argument was rejected in December 2014, and the Ontario Court of Appeal refused to hear their appeal in June 2015.



Photo Credit: Kevin White