Wind farm wants to work with communities

Christopher Gooding
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Higgins Mountain is an opportunity to cooperate, says 3G general manager

People are working very hard to change the face of Wentworth Valley towards a greener mandate.

SPRINGHILL: People are working very hard to change the face of Wentworth Valley towards a greener mandate.
In his address to the Springhill Area Chamber of Commerce, wind turbine specialist and 3G Energy general manager says environmental solutions to harness the wind and produce clean energy isn't a decision that can be made by a handful of people. It has to be made by everyone involved, as is the case with the company's plans for the Higgins Mountain region.
"We felt it was important to build large wind farms but remain sensitive to communities," Findley said.
Regions where their ecological impact would be minimal were very important, Findley said, choosing locations where logging roads have already been established. Worked land, he said, best suits 3G Energy's strategy because much of the infrastructure work has already been conducted for them.
"Managed forest land is ideal for new growth," Findlay said. "Our ecological impact is minimal because the land is already used logging roads. The space we'd use is minimal."
Not everyone agrees with Findlay and 3G Energy drive to introduce wind farms in the province, which includes two turbines and a possible ten more in the Rodney area.
"There's a coalition actively campaigning against us developing in Higgins Mountain," Findley explained.
Cottagers, skiers and trail enthusiasts are just some of the opponents to wind turbines in the Wentworth Valley area. Their arguments, however, is an opportunity for 3G to find solutions, Findley says.
"We've actually doubled the set back distance from 500 metres from property lines to 1000 metres," Findlay set. "Cumberland County took the initiative years ago and determined the set back. Having reflected...and looking at the land available to us we doubled that to 1,000 m."
More than 40 wind turbines have been proposed for the Higgins Mountain region and Findley and 3G have a number of possible configurations of where the turbines will go. In each instance as many as 10 wind turbines are relocated in their bid to satisfy nearby residents, says Findley.
3G has also been hitting the books, Findley says, to provide concerned citizens with practical information on the reality behind many controversies behind wind turbines. Shadow flicker, sound estimates and potential impact on wild life have all been thoroughly researched.
"The problem is you have a rural area use to country quiet. These will be minimally evasive; you can see them but I don't think you'll here them."
"We can't make turbines invisible and we can't raise or lower cottage evaluations."
The turbines themselves, however, stand to provide the county with $500,000 more in tax revenue when and if the wind farm is completed.
There's much at stake for developing environmentally sustainable solutions sooner than later, Findley says. Political mandates and strategies to utilize green technologies do not come close to the reality of pollution across the nation.
"We know there's a human factor to global warming but the air we breath is a dumping ground - it's a free dumping ground."
Policies to improve the environment and world condition are voluntary, weak in enforcement and price signals. People, Findley says, don't feel compelled to change and projects it will take a major shift in practice from the United States before Canada will follow suit.
"Every time we have a new plan we have no action…I think when the Republicans get in there will be some inspiration in that sector."
Most European nations have five years of emission reduction under their belts, Findley says, while Canada is trailing. "I want to leave behind a positive legacy," Findlay said. "Let's take the medicine; let's get on with it."

Organizations: Springhill Area Chamber of Commerce, Republicans

Geographic location: Wentworth Valley, Rodney, Cumberland County Canada United States

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