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Gunn Hill's Wind Farm Gains Ministry Approval

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has granted Renewable Energy Approval to Gunn's Hill Wind Farm, but not everyone is excited.

This comes after the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change's decision to to grant Gunn's Hill Wind Farm with Renewable Energy Approval.

Notice of the approval came out late last week, but earlier that same week at the Wednesday County Council meeting a letter was received from SWEAR (also known as Safe Wind Energy for All Residents). The letter requested financial funding from council so SWEAR could prepare a charter challenge against the implementation of wind turbines. Council refused to provide funding.

Director and share holder with the Oxford Community Energy Co-op is thrilled to hear of the approval.  "We had larger turbines originally planned, we went from 2 megawatts down to 1.8. The new turbines are actually a bit smaller and a bit quieter but they will have a little less output. We are going to have 10 turbines, so really that is enough to power over 5000 homes with green energy."  

A local group known as the East Oxford Community Alliance also opposes erecting wind turbines. Member of the Alliance, Joan Morris, declined an interview, but sent us a letter detailing the concerns of the group. The East Oxford Community Alliance's concerns stem from adverse health conditions they believe accompany turbines.

According to the Energy Co-op no decrease in health effects has been directly proven from turbines.  Allan Dale believes the turbines will benefit the county in terms of power consumption "One of the things I like about local energy is when an ice storm hits you have major power lines, and when they get taken out you lose hydro.  When you diversify and decentralize your sources of energy you are putting them into the grid at multiple different locations, so you are not dependent upon those big transmission lines.  It is great to have green energy that is locally produced, and locally utilized."    

Early summer is the earliest residents of the County could notice wind mills being constructed at the farm. However, the project may be delayed if the East Oxford Community Alliance submits an appeal. Member of the Alliance, Morris, wrote that given the ministry's track record on issuing approvals to wind energy projects regardless of the applications accuracy or completeness, they are not surprised at the outcome.  Dale comments that if an appeal is put forth they Energy Co-op is prepared to face it. He also commented,  "Groups like SWEAR and other opponents have opposed these wind energy projects time and time again and they have been turned down. I think the projects are better designed then they were initially.  I'm quite confident that we're going to be successful with this, should there be an appeal, we look forward to moving forward with the project."  

Investors are still coming forward with hopes of reaching the $9 million goal before construction will begin. 

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