Decommissioning of White Pines Wind Project to begin in October

Click to play video: 'Prince Edward County wind turbines coming down'
Prince Edward County wind turbines coming down
Wind turbines in Prince Edward County coming down starting next month – Sep 25, 2019

The controversial White Pines Wind Project in Prince Edward County, Ont. will soon be decommissioned. According to wpd Canada and Prince Edward County, the first phase of the process will begin in mid-October.

Now, the nagging question is how much, exactly, the government’s decision to pull the plug on the energy project will cost taxpayers.

Although the Ontario government has agreed to compensate wpd Canada for the cancellation of the contract, it has yet to release how much the compensation will amount to.

Back in July 2018, when the Progressive Conservative government announced a regulation requiring the closure of the White Pines Wind Facility — which was originally approved in 2009 by the previous Liberal government — Ian MacRae, president of wpd Canada, told The Canadian Press cancelling the project would cost the government more than $100 million.

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The government has never confirmed that number, and a year later, in July 2019, Sydney Stonier, press secretary for the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, told Global News the ministry had yet to determine total compensation since decommissioning had yet to take place.

Then on Monday, the municipality of Prince Edward County sent out a news release outlining the decommissioning plan for the turbines, and any infrastructure built for the project.

WATCH: Work contines at White Pines Wind Project in Prince Edward County

Click to play video: 'Work contines at White Pines Wind Project in Prince Edward County'
Work contines at White Pines Wind Project in Prince Edward County

The first phase will begin Oct. 15 and end on Jan. 31, 2020 and will involve using a crane to bring down the nine partially-built turbines. The second phase will begin in April 2020, when crews will remove supporting infrastructure installed as part of the project.

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Despite a decommissioning plan being in place, the ministry has yet to comment on how much it will be paying wpd for “eligible costs” laid out in the compensation agreement.

When contacted on Tuesday, MacRae refused to comment, saying he would defer the release of compensation information to the ministry.

The ministry has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Todd Smith, MPP for the region, refused to comment when asked how much wpd would be compensated, but praised the cancellation of the project — something he had promised on the campaign trail.

The project had seen vociferous opposition from several community groups in the county, who worried the turbines might affect everything from their health to local wildlife or the rural aesthetic of the county.

In an emailed statement, Smith said the White Pines project “should never have been allowed to proceed in the first place,” and was one of several energy projects cancelled by the PC government that Ontario “did not need,” that were “at a cost we cannot afford.”

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