Owners of Churchill wind project okayed to bid for energy contract

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The wind energy company with plans for Enniskillen Township is one of 42 companies which have qualified to bid for large renewable energy projects.

EDF-EN has been planning a 150 Megawatt industrial wind project in Enniskillen and Plympton-Wyoming for a number of years signing leaseholders up to the project in 2008.

Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott says the municipality has not heard from EDF EN since it qualified to bid in this round of projects. “I heard they were on the roads, talking to people again,” he told The Independent.

In an email, David Thorton, associate of stakeholder relations, says the company is still looking at the viability of the project. “Even though the project remains in the early stages of development, we are currently developing a community engagement plan,” he says. “This plan will be developed with input from landowners, the broader community, and municipal councils; and, the plan will outline multiple opportunities for public feedback to illustrate our openness for communication between our development team and all interested members of the community.”

But Marriott is steering clear of talking to the company. In the past, the Liberal government has changed the rules on what constitutes community engagement so Marriott and council have instructed staff not to talk to the company for fear it would be construed as consultation; “so they can’t turn it somehow and say they have some sort of backing with us.”

That could give the company an edge when it bids for the project.

Marriott says he’s “curious” to see if the government makes good on a promise that if governments don’t want a project, it won’t go ahead.

“We are of course aware of the sensitivities of wind energy projects in Lambton County, but we also know from previous experience building renewable energy projects in Ontario and other provinces in Canada that understanding local interests and integrating them into our development plan is an integral part of a projects’ success. Our goal here will be to do just that,” says Thorton.