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Could Hastings dam generate electricity reeve asks

Campbellford EMC: Bill Freeman - August 14, 2009

Asphodel-Norwood Reeve Doug Pearcy would like to know if the Hastings dam could be tapped for power before any wind turbines take root in the area.

"How much power can you get if you harnessed the dam in Hastings [versus] this in megawatts?" Pearcy wondered during an open house held by Energy Farming Ontario Inc. which is involved in the first stages of an environmental screening process for a proposed wind farm in Asphodel. If approved, the wind farm would be licensed to generate up to 20 megawatts provided by no more than ten turbines.

Project manager and director Kelly Campbell says the likely number would be between four and six turbines.

"Maybe that's something that should be studied," Pearcy said. "Once we've harnessed all this accessible water power in Ontario then maybe I'll start looking at this.

"I don't understand why we can't have generation in Hastings," said Pearcy. "I'd like to know if there's enough potential power there as 20 of these turbines. I'd rather harness that power than see 20 of these things stuck up in the air.

"I do not believe wind-power is efficient or economically viable yet," he said.

"When the winds stop blowing it [the grid] still requires other measures of providing power. They're not going to be able to shut down coal or nuclear [and] replace it with wind."

That being said, Pearcy said it is "good to have other sources" of energy.

"The government is pouring a lot of money into this."

"It is a lengthy process just explaining things to the landowner and how things progress," says Campbell. "They understand it's a big commitment from our part to develop these projects. They all understand that the project may or may not come to fruition."

Ontario Energy Farming is currently involved in six environmental screening processes.

"It's a provincial mandate to reduce our coal consumption so it made perfect sense to bring their expertise here," Campbell says of the company.

Campbell says there could be manufacturing opportunities in Ontario for wind turbine manufacturing.

"You could easily convert shutdown car manufacturing plants [and convert] them into turbine manufacturing."

The turbines people see being transported through this area are being shipped from overseas, she says.

She hopes that what she calls "the Obama affect" will lead to increased opportunities for green energy engineers and technicians in Ontario.