NextEra’s Hardy Creek wind project to be mostly in Warwick

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If NextEra Energy gets approval for its Hardy Creek Wind Centre, most of the turbines will end up in Warwick Township.

That’s according to a map laid out by the company at three recent community open houses for the renewable energy project.

NextEra hopes to build between 30 and 50 industrial turbines in the northeast corner of Brooke-Alvinston, into Warwick and Adelaide-Metcalfe Townships. It’s one of 42 companies approved to bid for up to 500 mega watts of renewable energy including three large wind projects in Ontario.

The companies have until Sept. 1 to submit bids for the projects. If NextEra did win one of the contract, construction likely wouldn’t start until at least late 2018 or even 2019.

NextEra held three open houses last week to layout the plan. The company says the project will cost between $200 and $350 million and bring about $300,000 of new municipal tax money annually.

The company also plans to contribute between $350,000 and $400,000 to a community vibrancy fund for projects in the community.

NextEra also provided a draft map of where the turbines might be located. The dots on the map show Brooke-Alvinston would see four turbines within its boundary, Adelaide-Metcalf would have five and Warwick could see as many as 26 turbines dot the municipality.

One of those dots is on Charlie Kusterman’s land. He signed a wind lease four years ago with TCI Renewables and thought he would have to give final approval if the company wanted to put a turbine on his property.

“I don’t have a pension plan,” he says adding “I thought this would be it.” He’s since heard about the health concerns and the problems the wind turbines cause between neighbours. And he’s also worried the wind companies will have more control over his land than he wants.

But Kusterman’s lease was among the group TCI sold to NextEra. Now the metal recycler is learning he likely won’t have any say as to whether a turbine goes up on his property.

He approached NextEra officials at the open house in Watford, saying his neighbour also has a lease and perhaps they could use his land.

Kusterman says what once seemed like easy retirement money now doesn’t look good for anyone. “Is this worth doing?” he asks pointing out how hydro rates are rising to help pay for the green energy contracts which are richer than any other type of power generation. “It doesn’t make sense.”

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