First McLean’s wind turbine spins this week

MCLEAN’S MOUNTAIN—Islanders will see some of the 24 wind turbines atop McLean’s Mountain begin to turn as the commissioning process begins this week on the Northland Power McLean’s Mountain wind farm project.

Paul Kaminski, construction project manager with Northland Power, spoke with The Expositor on Friday afternoon, explaining that the underwater cable and transmission station was to be “energized,” starting the night of March 7 with the commissioning of the wind turbines to begin this week. Construction on the last of the turbines was finished on December 28 with the entire project expected to be wrapped up by May, Mr. Kaminski said. However, he added, “there are many things that could come up during this time.”

The remaining workforce has been divided into two teams: one for pre-commissioning and one for commissioning. The turbines are being commissioned one at a time.

“There’s no denying that winter has been a factor here,” Mr. Kaminski said of the project’s timeline, “but, overall, we’re happy with the process.”

The workforce on the wind farm project in mid-summer swelled to over 100 people employed by White Construction with roughly half that number of workers currently. Mr. Kaminski explained that White also had over 20 subcontractors employed at the site. Once the project is completed, Northland Power will employ three people in full-time jobs, including the manager’s position, with General Electric, the turbines’ manufacturer, employing an additional two people.

“We are very pleased that with that many workers performing daily activities for an extended duration, the project safety record continues to be very good,” Mr. Kaminski added.

The collector system, located along the 20th Sideroad in the Green Bush, is also nearing completion and Mr. Kaminski reports that the Northeast Town, Rick Bond of the Manitoulin Snowdusters and the lead contractor with White Construction met last week and, in time for an expected increased use of the Snowdusters’ trails for March Break, equipment has been cleared out of that section of the Island’s trail plan.

While work along that section of trail is finished, the heavy equipment has left the trail too rough for safe use, he added.

Alicia McCutcheon