Northland upbeat on Grand Bend

Developer Northland Power is confident that its 100MW Grand Bend wind project under joint development with two First Nations in Ontario will enter commercial operation in late 2015 or early 2016, a company official tells Recharge.

Business development director Gordon Potts says that opponents may appeal the 26 June decision by Ontario’s environment and climate change ministry to award the project a renewable energy approval.

“If so, it goes to an environmental review tribunal that essentially delays the project for six months,” he says, which would push commercial start to first quarter 2016.

“We wouldn’t do much work during the appeal because it’s possible – although it has never happened before – that an appeal could rule against us and we wouldn’t have a project,” Potts adds.

The project, which will use 40 Siemens 3MW wind turbines (at a lower rating) with 113-meter rotors, will be located on Lake Huron’s eastern shore and is essentially shovel-ready. It has the necessary permits and a feed-in tariff with the province that will pay 15 cents per kWh.

With this in hand, Potts expects project financing to sail through following any appeal process. “The project works and the banks would be quite happy with it. We’re confident this project will be financed,” he says.

Northland has selected AMEC Black and McDonald as engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

Potts says the developer has prior experience partnering with First Nations, citing a wind project located on Manitoulin  Island in Georgia Bay.