Controversial wind power co-op claims approval coming soon

Tara Bowie, Woodstock Sentinel-Review, June 6, 2014

A local energy co-op that has caused some controversy in the county continues to move forward.

The Oxford Community Energy Co-operative (OCEC) announced the Financial Services Commission of Ontario approved its formation.

“The board of directors of the Oxford Community Energy Co-op is very excited that we have received the receipted Offering Statement from FSCO. We can now start our capital raising campaign. We would like to talk to anyone in this community who wants to become a part owner of the Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm because I am confident that we can offer a very attractive return on the investment,” Helmut Schneider, president of OCEC, said in a press release.

The first project on the co-op’s radar is the Gunn’s Hill wind turbines in Norwich Township being developed by Prowind Canada Inc.

Juan Anderson, vice-president of Prowind, said he expects the project to receive its Renewable Energy Approval by August after the Ministry of Environment completes its technical review of the application.

“We anticipate that under any new government there will be increased involvement of municipalities in the development process of renewable energy projects. We also see potential for further emphasis on co-operative and First Nations ownership in projects and we feel that the work we are doing with Oxford Community Energy Co-operative and Six Nations can be an example of how to share the benefits of a project more widely,” Anderson said when asked how a change in provincial leadership might effect the project.

The OCEC is looking to raise up to 49% of the project equity, which is approximately $9 million.

As per the OCEC website (http:// oxfordcommunityenergycoop. wildapricot. org), the hope is to raise $1.2 million of the equity from Oxford County investors and the remainder from across Ontario.

Currently the co-op has more than 50 members.

“The anticipated investment returns for preferred shares will be paid annually in the form of dividends, which are projected to be in the range 10 %,” the website stated.

The project is facing several hurdles in its last leg before possibly receiving approval to start building.

The East Oxford Community Alliance has notified Prowind of potential litigation if the project moves forward. Norwich Township deemed itself an unwilling host for the project several years ago and maintains that status.

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Editor’s note: Mr Anderson is possibly premature in his announcement; the documents filed by Prowind with the Ministry of the Environment which were deemed “complete” ae now the subject of a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario due to serious omissions and inadequacies in the documentation. Mr Anderson must also be unaware that there is an election in Ontario June 12th, and the further approval of wind power projects has been an important issue in the campaign.

 

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