OTTAWA – It’s not just fossil fuel energy infrastructure that attracts public protests. Clean energy projects also regularly face local opposition. Here are six non-emitting electricity projects that are getting a rough ride:
Scot’s Bay tidal project (Nova Scotia): A $3.2-billion proposal by Halcyon Tidal Power to build a 10-kilometre-long tidal dam across Scot’s Bay in the Bay of Fundy was put on hold this spring by the company in the face of stiff opposition. The project to harness the 10-metre high tides would have generated up to 1,200 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 25 per cent of the province’s needs or export significant power to New England. Local fishermen continue to raise concerns about other tidal power pilot projects that have been approved by the province.
Bala Falls hydroelectric (Ontario): Swift River Energy Ltd. has been working for more than six years on a plan to build a 4.5-megawatt run-of-the-river waterpower facility in the existing dam on the north Bala Falls in the Muskoka district. The project was first approved in principle in 2008. Hydro power previously was generated at the site until 1978. Local opposition has been fierce and has spread through the district’s wealthy cottage community. An editorial in the Huffington Post by a Toronto filmmaker that denounces the project as a “moral injustice” has been shared on Facebook some 3,400 times.
Saint-Valentin wind farm project (Quebec): Calgary-based TransAlta was denied approval in June 2011 for 25 wind turbines in southern Quebec that would have generated up to 50 megawatts of electricity. Other municipalities in the same area continue to study wind farm possibilities today but Saint-Valentin was ruled out following stiff local opposition. “While wind energy represents a tremendous wealth-creation opportunity for regions, this development isn’t possible without support from the area,” the responsible Quebec minister said at the time.
Dutton-Dunwich wind farm (Ontario): Chicago-based Invenergy was awarded a contract by the province in March to build dozens of wind turbines near Dutton, Ont., on the shores of Lake Erie, despite a local plebiscite in which 84 per cent of the 1,503 respondents voted against the wind turbines. The Strong Breeze Wind Project has a generating capacity of 57.5 megawatts.
Bipole III transmission line (Manitoba): The newly elected Conservative government is mulling over where to locate a $4.5-billion transmission line that will add 2,000 megawatts to Manitoba Hydro’s high-voltage direct transmission capacity. The power, from generating stations in northern Manitoba including one under development, will in part be sold to Minnesota under an export contract. The shorter route down the east side of the province was initially rejected due to indigenous concerns about destruction of the boreal forest. Farmers along the western route are unhappy and Premier Brian Pallister has said he’s looking at the routing again, although $1.8 billion has already been spent by the Crown corporation on the western corridor.
Powell River Inc., hydro project (British Columbia): A proposed run-of-river hydro power station on the Eldred River is not being supported by the Powell River Regional District due to opposition from local rock climbers and hikers, who say the 14 megawatt power station would interfere with a campsite used by the rock climbers. The application is currently under review by the province.