SouthPoint Wind Announces 1400 MW Offshore Wind Energy Projects

SouthPoint Wind had already proposed 15 wind turbines in three spots off the shores of Kingsville and Leamington. If SouthPoint gets approval for that wind power project, it is proposing a 1,400-megawatt project with 13 wind farms: three in Lake St. Clair and the rest south of Essex County and Chatham-Kent in Lake Erie. Each wind farm could have 55 turbines and could be one to 2.5 kilometres from shore.

If it could be the first offshore wind farm anywhere in fresh water. There are offshore wind farms proposed on the Great Lakes including Lake Ontario, but none approved or constructed in the province.

SouthPoint Wind in a news release said the project would be "the first of many new offshore wind power generation plants in the Great Lakes region."

The news release went on to say "the development of this project will bestow the community with first mover status in the offshore wind energy market, undoubtedly creating a succession of job growth and manufacturing expansion in surrounding areas."

SouthPoint Wind is one of a group of companies owned by the Liovas family of Leamington. The company is advertising public meetings March 27 and its interest in both the 15-turbine project and the 700 wind turbines project. The news release said the company is following the legislation of the province’s new approval process which will involve "assessing the feasibility of a sustainable" 15-turbine project.

Kate Jordan, a spokeswoman with the Ministry of the Environment, said there are several offshore wind proposals in the planning stages in Ontario and the province is still working on regulations for offshore wind power developments under the new Green Energy Act.

In the past, such projects went through environmental assessments but that process is being streamlined under the new act. So far only the land-based regulations for wind farms have been developed, Jordan said.

The process for the offshore wind farms would involve first going to the Ministry of Natural Resources to get permission to build on the Crown lakebed. Then a proponent would go through the renewable energy approval process under the Green Energy Act of the Ministry of the Environment. She said it’s up to proponents to study the project and identify any negative environmental impacts and ways to overcome them. Public consultations must be held.

Any approval would have to come from the Ministry of the Environment. For now, Jordan said it would be a site specific review if the company applied.

If allowed, a draft application on SouthPoint Wind’s website said the wind farm construction could begin in 2012 and last until December 2014.

This site has excellent wind according to Skip’s committee’s report, a direct connection to the grid, and a storage facility for use when power demand is low and the wind is good.

Any concerns about these units being too close to Silver Lake State Park shore needs to address the off road use that already goes on in the entire Silver Lake area. The noise and congestion, the lack of restraint on other property outside the state park is unbelievable.

This is a huge opportunity that should not be missed. The statements saying that wind farms have never allowed the shut down of any coal or other power plants are probably true. That’s because our demand for electricity is growing exponentially! We need more power and we can’t keep burning things to get it!, said