ABB_id2059
in News Departments > New & Noteworthy
print the content item



A farmer representing the business interests of 37,000 farm families had pointed words for the actions of wind developers trying to negotiate land lease agreements with Ontario landowners.

"You guys did a lousy job," Don McCabe, vice president at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, told attendees as a panelist during the recently concluded Canadian Wind Energy Association Annual Conference and Exhibition.

Community engagement has been a hot-button issue in the province since the Green Energy and Green Economy Act of 2009, which ushered in a spate of wind farm developers wanting to build projects in Ontario.

Since that time, McCabe said some rogue developers have come into the province and hastily staked their claim and often underestimated the intelligence of locals. In some cases, he claimed, wind developers often pitted neighbors against each other.

McCabe told a story involving a local resident that learned at a restaurant that he was not receiving the same dollar amount as his neighbors.

"When [a landowner] goes to the restaurant and [finds] out one neighbor is getting $30,000 and his other neighbor might be getting $20,000 - what do you think the reaction is going to be?" McCabe asked rhetorically.

Everyone involved should have a piece of the action, he explained, adding that such inequality only fuels the antipathy toward wind energy that is being felt in Ontario.

As the provincial government mulls over the details of its long-term energy plan - which would include siting policy for large-scale wind projects - McCabe suggested the time is right for wind developers to re-evaluate how they do things. "Some of your easements are nuts," he deadpanned.

Surprisingly, McCabe said the best way for wind developers to enter a community has less to do with money and more to do with simply being a good neighbor.

He explained some developers erroneously believe that making improvements to the town's infrastructure or donating playground equipment is all that is needed to be accepted or welcomed into a community.

"No one needs playground equipment," he said. "What they need is respect."

Additionally, he urged wind developers to simplify contracts to make them easier for landowners to understand. In fact, McCabe offered some free advice to wind developers in the audience:

"If you can't [explain the lease offer] on the wall of the church basement, you might be in the wrong business."

While most wind developers have come into communities the right way, the few bad ones have ruined it for everyone. "That's reality," he said.

McCabe says the Ontario Federation of Agriculture - whose mission "enables prosperous and sustainable farms" - will work alongside wind energy stakeholders toward policy that benefits landowners and developers in Ontario.

"Farmers are used to dealing with the risk of Mother Nature," he stated. "But we will not tolerate the risk of poor policy."


Hybrid Energy Innovations 2015

Trachte_id2056
Latest Top Stories

The Song Remains The Same: AWEA Says Stable Policy Can Protect U.S. Wind Investment

Although the U.S. wind industry added more than four times the amount of wind in 2014 compared with 2013, predictable policy is needed to sustain its long-term success.


High Net-Worth Investors Claim 'All Of The Above' On Energy, Renewable And Otherwise

According to a recent Morgan Stanley poll, high-dollar investors favor investment in renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar.


U.S. Wind Power Installations Surpassed 4.7 GW Last Year, Although China Still Leads

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports that U.S. wind installations came back in a big way from a disappointing 2013.


IRS Specifies Performance, Quality Standards For Small Wind Turbines

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued guidelines creating safety and performance standards for small wind turbines to be eligible for the 30% investment tax credit.


Hot Times North Of The Border: Canada Tops Previous Record For Installed Wind Capacity

For the second consecutive year, Canada's wind market has bested the country's previous mark for new installations.

Hybrid Energy Innovations 2015