Two of the three wind companies vying for projects in Brooke-Alvinston are hoping to convince municipal leaders to work on a community commitment agreement.
Representatives from both Suncor Energy and Enerfin met with council recently emphasizing the clock is ticking on the companies as they have to submit their bids to the Independent Energy System Operator by September.
Both companies would like to work on an agreement which spells out compensation for the municipality should they be awarded a contract to build wind turbines. If they have that agreement, their bid becomes more attractive to the IESO>
Suncor project manager Keith Knudsen says the company is offering compensation to the municipalities based on the infrastructure in the community and it will be giving “adjacent landowners” near turbines a pool payment as part of the community benefit plan. Enerfin’s plan is similar.
But Brooke-Alvinston officials seemed more concerned about a road use agreement. Some of the municipalities with wind centres under construction have seen roads chewed up by the heavy equipment. In all of the projects in Lambton, there are road use agreements signed forcing the companies to cover the cost of repairs.
Public Works Manager Randy Hills quizzed both Suncor and Enerfin on whether they would be willing to work out a road use agreement before they submit bids to the IESO in September. He’s concerned the municipality would lose its negotiating power if it waited until after the companies were granted the contracts.
Both companies said they would try to work out some preliminary details but emphasized the time is running short and the community commitment agreement is the company’s main priority.
“It is important to us to have a road use agreement,” says Jocelyn Kelln of Suncor. “But the reason why we’ve linked the community commitment agreement is there is a bit of urgency around the timing of it…The urgency to negotiate a comprehensive road use agreement is not as great.”
Kelln says Suncor needs the paperwork to submit their bid and is willing to work with Brooke-Alvinston to write into any agreement “a clear acknowledgement that the community is an unwilling host and this in no way suggest there is support for this project. We can put in strong parameters around what is in a road use agreement and provided increased clarity for compensation for legal costs, but it really does need to be tied to the IESO form.
“Any sort of agreement that has that level of compensation has to be tied to IESO letter.”
Brooke-Alvinston Mayor Don McGugan told the companies the municipalities were carefully considering what to do and expected to get back to them with some sort of answer in early August.