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What’s next for turbines?

Exeter Times-Advocate Editorial:

It will be interesting to see how industrial wind turbine companies like NextEra Energy and Northland Power react to the huge wind turbine fees the Municipality of Bluewater recently decided to implement.

As reported on this week’s front page, Bluewater council agreed at its Nov. 5 meeting to charge the companies erecting industrial wind turbines in the municipality a host of fees, nearly adding up to a whopping $1 million per turbine.

NextEra has 52 turbines planned for the municipality. At about $1 million apiece, well, you can do the math to see how expensive the fees will add up to.

While the province’s Green Energy Act has largely wrestled authority over wind turbine projects out of municipal hands, municipalities are able to implement fees under regulations such as the Building Code.

The fees passed by Bluewater council last week are the municipality’s way of telling the wind turbine companies that their projects aren’t wanted here. There has been much objection to industrial wind turbines by a variety of groups who have attended and spoke at council meetings and protested at public meetings hosted by the turbine companies. Municipal councils are doing what they can to listen to those concerns, protect their residents and carry out their wishes, as they should.

But the huge fees Bluewater intends to charge are probably more than anyone would reasonably expect. There’s no way the wind turbine companies will accept those fees without a fight.

You can bet it didn’t take long for the companies to contact their lawyers once they learned of the Bluewater fees (which still have to return to council in the form of a bylaw to be voted on).

We already know NextEra wasn’t pleased about the $15,000 per turbine fee the Municipality of South Huron recently implemented. NextEra sent a letter to South Huron objecting to the fees, claiming they were about double the company had planned for.

So if they weren’t happy with fees of $15,000, what must they think of fees of $1 million per turbine?

It’s probably safe to assume we haven’t heard the last of this issue and that lawyers on both sides of the fence are salivating at the thought of the hours they’ll be billing for this.

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