Lambton County will be one of the groups asking questions as NextEra makes its case for transmission lines in Warwick Township to the Ontario Energy Board.
NextEra is building two industrial wind farms along the border of Lambton and Middlesex County, the 92- turbine Jericho Project which is in Warwick and Lambton Shores and the 45-turbine Bornish Project in North Middlesex and outskirts of Arkona. The company is planning 15.7 kilometers of transmission lines from one project to the other which needs approval of the Ontario Energy Board.
County Solicitor David Cribbs says the board will allow Lambton County to be an intervener in the hearing. That will allow the county to ask questions and bring in its own evidence if necessary.
The county owns the right of way NextEra wants to use. So far, talks with the company to reach an agreement on how it can use the right of way haven’t reached an agreement.
Cribbs says because the Green Energy Act eliminates local planning authority for any green energy projects, this hearing is the only opportunity the county has to influence any of the decisions.
He adds the county needs to make sure NextEra constructs the towers in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with other companies already using the right-of-way, such as Union Gas and Hydro One, or other companies which might need it in the future.
Cribbs says the county wasn’t politically motivated to become part of the hearing but wanted to make sure its technical concerns were dealt with.
He adds that while the hearing goes on, the county is negotiating with NextEra as well, hoping to address its outstanding concerns and sign an agreement with NextEra for the use of the land.
The Ontario Energy Board also approved Middlesex County’s request for intervener status. It has asked Muriel Allingham and Robert Lewis, members of the Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns Group who are representing dozens of landowners in the area who have objected, to provide more information on why they should be involved.
The OEB says the board only has to consider the interest of consumers on prices, reliability and the quality of electricity service and whether the project fits the government’s promotion of the use of green energy.