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Instrument Decision Notice:   EBR Registry Number:   011-7852
Proponent: Dufferin Wind Power Inc.
161 Bay Street
Suite 4550
Toronto Ontario
Canada M5J 2S1
Instrument Type:   Approval for a renewable energy project - EPA s.47.3(1)
 
Ministry Reference Number:
3117-8X6KWY
Ministry:
Ministry of the Environment
Date Proposal loaded to the Registry:
December 27, 2012
Date Decision loaded to the Registry:
June 10, 2013
 
 

The Leave to Appeal Provisions indicated in the section titled “Leave to Appeal Provisions” at the end of this posting do not apply to Renewable Energy Approvals issued under 47.5 of the EPA. Please refer to NOTE: Regarding Third Party Hearing Provisions in the section titled “Decision on Instrument” instead.

 
Keyword(s):   Air  |  Electricity
 
Decision on Instrument:

A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to Dufferin Wind Power Inc. to engage in a renewable energy project in respect of a Class 4 wind facility consisting of the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of up to 49 turbines, 18 rated at 2.75 MW generating output capacity and 31 rated at 1.6 MW generating output capacity, with a total name plate capacity of 99.1 MW and a total expected generation capacity of 91.4 MW. The wind facility will be connected to Hydro One’s distribution system.

This Class 4 wind facility, known as the Dufferin Wind Power Project, consists of areas required for the wind facility components, as well as for the transmission line. The wind facility is located in the Township of Melancthon, Town of Shelburne and Township of Amaranth, County of Dufferin.

The REA requires the proponent to construct, install, operate, use and retire the facility in accordance with specific terms and conditions. The terms and conditions, as summarised below, require the proponent to:

  • construct and install the facility within 3 years of the date of the approval,
  • construct and install the facility in accordance with the documentation considered for the issuance of this approval,
  • properly decommission the facility upon retirement of the facility,
  • comply with the ministry’s noise emission limits at all times,
  • carry out an acoustic immission audit of the sound levels produced by the operation of the equipment,
  • carry out an acoustic emission audit of the acoustic emissions produced by the operation of the wind turbine generators,
  • manage stormwater, and control sediment and erosion during and post construction,
  • carry out specific items if foundation dewatering or water takings by tanker exceed 50,000 litres/day,
  • implement the pre and post construction Natural Heritage monitoring program, which includes bird and bat monitoring,
  • create a community liaison committee with members of the public and the Company,
  • undertake ongoing Aboriginal consultation,
  • prepare a Traffic Management Plan to be provided to the upper and lower tier municipalities and enter into Road Users Agreements,
  • properly address any archaeological resources discovered,
  • maintain records of the operation and maintenance of equipment and inspections and complaints related to the facility,
  • notify the ministry of complaints received alleging adverse effect caused by the construction, installation, operation, use or retirement of the facility, and
  • notify the ministry prior to a change of ownership.

This renewable energy project has been approved in accordance with the requirements of Part V.0.1 of the Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Regulation 359/09.

NOTE: Regarding Third Party Hearing Provisions

Third Party Hearing Provisions are listed immediately below. The Leave to Appeal Provisions indicated in the section titled “Leave to Appeal Provisions” at the end of the posting do not apply to Renewable Energy Approvals issued under 47.5 of the EPA.

Any resident of Ontario may require a hearing by the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) within 15 days after the date this Decision was loaded to the Environmental Registry (see top right of decision notice) by written notice served upon all of the following:

Appellate Body:
Secretary
Environmental Review Tribunal
655 Bay Street
Floor 15
Toronto
M5G 1E5
Phone: (416) 212-6349
Fax: (416) 314-4506

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario:
Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
1075 Bay Street
Suite 605
Toronto Ontario
M5S 2B1
Phone: (800) 701-6454

Issuing Authority:
Vic Schroter
Director, Section 47.5 Environmental Protection Act
Environmental Approvals Branch
2 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 12A
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1L5
Phone: 416-314-8573

Proponent:
Dufferin Wind Power Inc.
161 Bay Street, Suite 4550
Toronto, Ontario
M5J 2S1

An applicant for a hearing shall state in the notice requiring the hearing, (a) a description of how engaging in the renewable energy project in accordance with the renewable energy approval will cause, (i) serious harm to human health, or (ii) serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment; (b) the portion of the renewable energy approval in respect of which the hearing is required; and (c) the relief sought.

Further information is provided on the ERT’s website at: http://www.ert.gov.on.ca/english/guides/index.htm.

If you have any questions about the hearing process please consult a lawyer or contact the ERT.

Comment(s) Received on the Proposal:   267

Public Consultation on the proposal for this decision was provided for 47 Days, from December 27, 2012 to February 12, 2013.

As a result of public consultation on the proposal, the Ministry received a total of 267 comments: 219 comments were received in writing and 48 were received online.

Additionally, a copy of all comments are available for public viewing by contacting the Contact person listed in this notice.

A selection of these comments are available:

Effect(s) of Consultation on this Decision:

All comments received were reviewed by the ministry and considered during the review of the application. These concerns and comments have been summarized below:

Concerns related to health effects, including impacts from electro-magnetic fields (EMF)

The Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health’s report concluded that scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects. Scientific evidence to date indicates that, at the typical setback distances in Ontario, there is no direct health risk from wind turbine noise, including low frequency noise and infrasound.

The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has built safety requirements into the Ontario Renewable Energy Approval (REA) Regulation (O. Reg 359/09). For wind facilities, a proponent must meet section 53 of O. Reg. 359/09, which prohibits a proponent to place a turbine closer than the height of the turbine to a property boundary (unless a Property Line Setback Assessment is completed).

Minimum setback requirements have been met in all cases, the noise report meets MOE guidelines and the applicant has committed to implementing appropriate construction and operational health and safety protocols.

Further, a condition has been imposed in the REA to operate and maintain the facility in accordance with good engineering practices and as recommended by the equipment suppliers.

Concerns related to setbacks

The MOE has built safety requirements into Ontario Renewable Energy Approval Regulation (O. Reg. 359/09). For wind facilities, a proponent must meet section 53 of O. Reg. 359/09, which prohibits a proponent to place a turbine closer than the height of the turbine to a property boundary (unless a Property Line Setback Assessment is completed).

The facility has been sited in accordance will all applicable permitting regulations and requirements. Minimum setback requirements have been met, the noise report meets MOE guidelines and the Company has committed to implementing appropriate construction and operational health and safety protocols, as well as a complaint resolution process.

Further, a condition has been imposed in the REA to operate and maintain the facility in accordance with good engineering practices and as recommended by the equipment suppliers.

Concerns about property value impacts

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s (MPAC) analysis of property sales to date has not indicated that wind turbines that are either abutting or close to a property have either a positive or negative impact on the value.

MPAC is currently undertaking a level of assessment study to determine if the distance from a wind turbine affects the assessed value of a property. To complete this review, MPAC will compare the 2012 assessed values to recent sale prices to determine if the ratio between the assessments and the sale prices differs between homes near wind turbines and those further away. Once complete, a copy of the study will be made available to the public.

Concerns related to noise and vibration

A total of forty-nine wind turbine generators and one transformer substation were evaluated in the Acoustic Assessment Report for this project.

MOE noise engineers have reviewed the Acoustic Assessment Report provided by the Company and have confirmed that the project will meet the ministry’s standards for wind facilities. Further, the noise impact assessment and the project have met the requirements of O. Reg. 359/09.

The noise impact assessment was carried out in accordance with “Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms”, MOE, 2008.

If the public has any noise concerns, incidents to report, or has any complaints they would like to raise relating to a wind facility operation, they should contact their local MOE district or area office. The MOE is committed to providing timely services for receiving, assessing, and coordinating responses to all complaints related to potential environmental incidents (including those from wind facilities). The MOE’s first level of field response is provided by environmental officers working out of the MOE’s district or area offices.

Community input, and lack of community support for the project and company integrity

Opportunity for public comment on this project has been provided since 2007.

In addition, the MOE posted the proposal for the project on the Environmental Registry, allowing for a total of 47 days for public comment directly to the ministry. Most proposals for instruments are posted on the Environmental Registry for 30-days.

The Company accepted and replied to communications received (e-mails, phone calls, letters, faxes or public meeting feedback forms) as documented in their Consultation Report submitted with the REA application. A dedicated toll free project phone line and e-mail address was also created in order to accept communications.

The MOE is committed to ensuring that renewable energy applicants are good neighbours when situating a new wind facility in local community. In order to address concerns raised about Dufferin Wind Power Inc. and consultation, the MOE has included a condition to create a Liaison Committee for the Dufferin Wind Power Project. This Liaison Committee will be made up of individuals in the community and Dufferin Wind Power Inc. representatives. The aim of the committee will be to keep the lines of communication open during the implementation of the Dufferin Wind Power Project, deal with issues that arise during implementation and report on an annual basis to the MOE.

Concerns about shadow flicker

Assessment of shadow flicker is not a requirement of O. Reg. 359/09. The MOE will continue to monitor research and literature on this issue and will modify our practices accordingly.

Impacts on air strips and air safety

The Company has submitted details on the wind turbine locations to NAV Canada and Transport Canada. The project is assessed by these agencies for Federal Airport Zoning Regulations, for lighting and marking requirements, for impacts to radar and instrument approaches, and other applicable safety elements related to aviation. The Company has consulted with the appropriate aviation safety authorities and will continue to engage them and comply with aviation requirements should the project progress to construction. The Company will comply with all marking and lighting requirements set out by Transport Canada, which will ensure that there will be no negative impacts to aircraft movement into local airstrips.

Concerns about the number of turbines already in the area

Green energy is a key part of the province’s plan to combat climate change and phase out coal. Increasing renewable energy generation and conservation will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create thousands of green jobs in Ontario. The MOE is committed to assisting the government in meeting its goals to increase the supply of electricity from clean and new renewable energy projects in a way that protects human health and the environment.

Ontario's Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) identifies the importance of developing a balance of generation resources, and wind energy as a significant part of Ontario’s future generating capacity. The Dufferin Wind Power Project will help in meeting the targets of the LTEP. In addition, to the extent wind generation can offset greenhouse gas producing energy; the Dufferin Wind Power Project will assist Ontario in achieving its climate change mitigation goals as well.

Proponents are required to consider the noise impacts of existing and proposed adjacent (or neighbouring) wind farms as part of their noise assessment to ensure MOE’s sound level limits are met in all cases. More specifically, as noted in section 6.4.9 of the MOE’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms (October 2008), the combined contributions from wind turbines within 5 kilometres must be included in the impact assessment at a point of reception, as was completed by the Company. If a wind facility is proposed to be located in an area where more than one wind facility is under development, proponents are required to consult with neighbouring proponents to ensure projects will meet the requirements for cumulative noise effects from multiple wind turbines.

Request for a moratorium on wind turbines

When developing the REA regulation, the MOE drew upon extensive existing scientific research from around the world. Reviewing a large body of peer-reviewed reports and studies enabled the MOE to develop a regulation that was based on the best available science to protect human health and the environment. The MOE continues to review emerging scientific and engineering studies to ensure Ontario's REA regulation remains in line with the latest and best in science.

Impacts on the natural environment and wildlife

Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) staff have reviewed the necessary natural heritage reports for the Dufferin Wind Power Project and provided their confirmation letter (dated May 9, 2012; and reconfirmed on August 16, 2012, October 21, 2012, February 20, 2013, March 15, 2013 and May 15, 2013) for the Company’s Natural Heritage Assessment (NHA). The letter confirms that the Company used appropriate evaluation criteria or procedures accepted by the MNR for the:

  • determination of the existence and boundaries of natural features;
  • preparation of the site investigation and records review;
  • evaluation of the significance or provincial significance of the natural features;
  • determination that the project location is not in a provincial park or conservation reserve; and
  • preparation of the environmental impact assessment report.

Ontario’s REA process includes clear requirements to ensure consideration and protection for natural heritage features, including 120 m setbacks to natural features.

Impacts on birds and bats

Ontario’s REA process includes clear requirements to ensure consideration and protection for natural heritage features, including 120 m setbacks to significant bird and bat habitats. The process also includes requirements for monitoring and mitigation of potential negative effects to birds, bats and their habitats. The developer must identify any negative impacts the renewable energy project may have to natural features and develop measures to mitigate those effects.

An Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan (EEMP) for bird and bat monitoring has been completed and provided to MNR for review and comment. Conditions have been included in the approval for the Company to implement its EEMP for birds and bats as submitted as part of the application, and to implement mitigation and monitoring as outlined in the EEMP.

The bird and bat monitoring plan has been developed in accordance with MNR and Environment Canada’s guidelines. This monitoring plan has been reviewed and approved by MNR.

Concerns related to land use, including impacts to farmland

The role of the MOE with respect to energy proposals is to ensure that they comply with regulations that have been put in place to protect human health and the environment. The Ministry of Energy takes the lead on the development of renewable energy projects, and the OPA issues contracts under the province’s Feed In Tariff (FIT) program to purchase power. The FIT contracts awarded to project developers restrict the development of solar facilities on prime agricultural lands, e.g. Class 1 and Class 2 agricultural land, as determined by the OPA in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. However no such restriction exists for wind facilities, and the development of wind turbines on agricultural land is determined by the developer in collaboration with the landowners.

Wind turbines occupy only a small fraction of the land they are sited on, and farming or grazing may continue undisturbed. In general, a turbine in a typical wind facility including foundation and access roads will use 1 to 1.5% of a typical 40 hectare farm parcel.

The MOE has included a condition for the proponent to contact the ministry prior to decommissioning of the facility, to ensure that the lands can be restored to their original use.

While the wind facility is a new land use, the Company’s partnerships with local farmers and landowners help to diversify their revenue streams, enabling them to further ensure financial security for their farms. Protecting farms helps to preserve the rural and agricultural nature of the area over the long-term.

The wind facility will be visible from limited locations along the western edge of the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area. As part of the assessment of visual impact for the Dufferin Wind Power Project, photographic simulations illustrated that the impact to the scenic resources will not be significant. The views are localized, there would be no loss of views, and the alteration to the views is modest because of the distance to the wind farm and the absorption capacity (complexity) of the landscape that is being viewed.

Visual impacts

It is recognized that people have varying opinions about the changes a wind facility will bring to the visual landscape. Wind turbines and the associated infrastructure take up only a small portion of the land on which they are situated. This does not constitute an industrial park which is characterized by development of large portions of the land for manufacturing as well as large scale traffic increases during operation.

Concerns regarding the geotechnical report and impacts on aquifers and wells

The Company completed two Geotechnical reports for the Dufferin Wind Power Project. As condition of the approval, the Company is required to employ best management practices for stormwater management and sediment and erosion control during the construction, installation, use, operation, maintenance and retiring of the wind facility and as described in the application.

The final Geotechnical report provided on the Company's project website is complete based on final design information. Extensive groundwater monitoring has been completed and some monitoring is still on going.

Monitoring concerns

The MOE is committed to providing timely services for receiving, assessing, and coordinating responses to all complaints related to potential environmental incidents (including those from wind facilities). The MOE’s first level of field response is provided by environmental officers working out of the MOE’s district or area offices. For example, in the case of an incident involving wind facility operations noise that has resulted in a complaint call into the MOE, the District staff will attempt to verify the complaint and assess the impact on the complainant, which may include several visits to the complainant’s residence at various times of the day. After the site assessment is completed, District staff will decide whether actions need to be taken to resolve the situation.

Since September 2009, the MOE has been proactively inspecting existing wind facilities in Ontario. Inspections include an evaluation of approval requirements such as equipment location, operation and maintenance requirements, records related to environmental complaints, measures taken to address the cause of complaints and compliance with transformer sound level limits. Additionally, to follow up on citizen’s complaints about wind turbine noise, Environmental Officers will attend wind facilities and make an assessment as to whether wind turbine noise is causing an adverse effect on neighbouring residents.

The MOE uses a progressive suite of enforcement tools to ensure wind farms operate in compliance with approval conditions. This includes both voluntary and mandatory abatement measures to address non-compliance. The manner in which the complaint is addressed may vary from site to site and can include continued noise monitoring, a noise reduction plan and shutting down turbines. The MOE also regularly inspects projects to ensure compliance. If these proactive inspections trigger the need for additional noise monitoring, the MOE will use the tools in the new protocol to ensure noise limits are adhered to by wind farms.

Property line setback concerns

A Company may consider applying to reduce the property line setback to the length of the turbine blade plus 10 metres. In order to do so, the REA application must include a Property Line Setback Assessment (PLSA) report, which must demonstrate that siting the wind turbine in such a location will not result in any adverse impacts on neighbouring businesses, infrastructure, or land use activities. If there are potential adverse impacts, a description of preventative measures to address the potential adverse impacts must be included.

It was determined that there are no structures, including barns, stables or any other infrastructure, located within the blade length plus 10 metres distance requirement to any of the turbines. Adjacent land uses include small woodlots and agricultural land that is actively farmed or has been left fallow. Businesses and properties adjacent to the turbines include farming operations with annual field crops and vegetative cover crops.

As per the requirements of a PLSA, Dufferin Wind Power Inc. has demonstrated that siting the wind turbines in such locations will not result in any adverse impacts on neighbouring businesses, infrastructure, or land use activities. The turbines are to be designed by professional engineers and constructed following the methods outlined in Construction Plan Report. They will be serviced regularly and monitored by operations staff. Each turbine will contain shut down mechanisms in the case of severe weather events. In the unlikely event of turbine collapse the project owners would work with landowners to negotiate compensation terms. The REA submission package details best practices for soil compaction and vegetation loss/damage. Additional mitigation measures for woodlots, including vegetation damage and disturbance to related wildlife habitat, are outlined in the REA reports.

As part of the Design and Operations Report, Dufferin Wind Power Inc. provided information on how the proponent can be contacted and how the proponent will provide information to the public in case of an emergency. Further, Dufferin Wind Power Inc. prepared an emergency response and communications plan for the Dufferin Wind Power Project.

Unpredictability of electricity generated and rising costs of electricity

The Province of Ontario has identified wind as one component of a diversified energy mix for the province, as identified in Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan. The Ontario Power Authority, the agency responsible for supply procurement, and the Independent Electricity System Operator, the agency responsible for the reliability of Ontario electricity system, have both researched, modeled and proposed a target for wind (10% by 2030) that ensures an efficient and reliable system supply to meet Ontario electricity demands while satisfying the Government’s and the Ontario public’s goals for new supply.

Decommissioning concerns

As part of the REA approval, there is a decommissioning condition. This condition requires the proponent to comply with all commitments made in the REA documentation. Further, consultation with the local District Manager of the MOE will be required in order to meet all the requirements at the time of decommissioning.

The MOE has included a condition for the proponent to contact the ministry prior to decommissioning of the facility, to ensure that the lands can be restored to their original use.

Concerns regarding the 230 kV transmission line option

The Company held two public meetings (April 17, and April 19, 2012 and July 24 to July 28, 2012) to consult on the 230 kV transmission line option. The Company has also been in discussions with Hydro One Networks, the Ontario Energy Board and the Integrated Electricity System Operator regarding the location of the transmission line. The 230 kV transmission line would be installed above ground along a private easement and former rail road corridor for the majority of the 47 km, route, which is a standard approach for almost all high voltage transmission line development in Canada. The line would be installed underground to avoid environmental features. The Company has also committed to installing the line underground through a portion of Shelburne.

From a land use planning perspective, the Company has determined that use of the rail corridor is a superior alternative to installing a 69 kV transmission line along the public road right-of-way for the a number of reasons including the following: no need to add new and taller poles on a public road right-of-way; use of a rural and remote areas rather than a public road right-of-way; use of a more direct route to the interconnection point; and use of an abandoned rail corridor that is zoned for industrial development and has a substantially lower impact than use of a public right-of-way.

The Company engaged a consultant to undertake an Electric and Magnetic Field (EMF) study of the proposed 230 kV transmission line through the most densely populated area, the Town of Shelburne. The transmission line is designed to be underutilized and this will result in much less EMF radiating from the line than if the line was fully utilized. With the transmission line proposed to be installed in a rail/utility corridor and its relatively low EMF signature, the Company believes that this line can be installed and operated safely.

The Company has designed the 230 kV transmission line to be located along the side of the rail corridor between the property line and the rail bed. The transmission line has been designed to be a single wood or steel mono pole line and its location will not affect the current recreational use of the corridor, including the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding. With the exception of possible temporary construction-related interruptions, the corridor could still be used for all recreational purposes. In addition, as per Dufferin County requirements, the design of the transmission line would not interfere with future rail operations in the event the rail corridor was re-commissioned.

Concerns related to ice throw

All modern wind turbines are built to shut off if the blades become unbalanced. If ice accumulates on the turbines, the blades will become unbalanced, and the turbines will shut off. As the weather warms, ice would drop directly from the blade to the ground.

Ontario’s setback requirements combined with this advanced technology reduce any potential hazards from ice formation on the blades.

Concerns related to archaeological and heritage resources

A Cultural Heritage Self-Assessment was undertaken for the wind facility location and a confirmation letter was received from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Wind turbine sites T31 and T32 have been fully assessed through Stage 2 investigations. A historic scatter was found at T30 (formerly T31) site. Historic scatter refers to small items that may have historic value that are uncovered during the Stage 2 archaeological assessment. They are often primarily ceramics from a homestead that may have been on site in the past. Historic scatter may also consist of glass, nails, and other miscellaneous materials.

The Company has chosen avoidance to preserve archaeological features and MTCS has provided clearance at this site. The historic scatter will be cordoned off with appropriate buffers, as per MTCS guidelines, and the site will be monitored during construction.

The Company completed an archaeological stage 2 assessment for the private easement lands and submitted the report to MTCS in September 2012. MTCS has provided a confirmation letter for this work. Since the submission of the REA application, Stage 3 archaeological work has commenced. A condition is being imposed in the REA requiring the Company to take appropriate steps if archaeological remains are encountered.

Agreement and support for the stated concerns of Conserve Our Rural Environmental (CORE)

A number of comments were submitted in support of the stated concerns of CORE. The stated concerns of CORE were noted and considered.

Impacts on recreation and tourist economy

The wind facility will be visible from limited locations along the western edge of the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area. Photographic simulations illustrated that the impact to the scenic resources would not be significant. The views are localized, there would be no loss of views, and the alteration to the views is modest because of the distance to the wind farm and the absorption capacity (complexity) of the landscape that is being viewed.

Regarding the former rail corridor, the transmission line has been designed to allow for future rail development and for continued use of the rail corridor for recreational activities such as horseback riding, hiking, all-terrain vehicle use and snowmobiling. The Company is committed to working with local recreational associations to ensure the safety of all rail corridor users. The Company has initiated a consultation program for those who use the rail corridor for recreational use and encourages participation through their website and a series of advertisements.

In general, the transmission line requires a 10 m easement within the 25m rail corridor. The transmission line would be situated between the rail corridors’ western property line and the rail bed, leaving the rail bed open for continued recreational enjoyment.

The Company's partnerships with local farmers and landowners help to diversify their revenue streams, enabling them to further ensure financial security for their farms and the local economy. Protecting farms helps to preserve the rural and agricultural nature of the area over the long-term.

Impacts on the Niagara Escarpment

A visual impact assessment was undertaken to determine the vantage points from where the wind facility would be visible from the Niagara Escarpment, and to what extent would there be negative impacts to the scenic resources in the Niagara Escarpment Plan area (NEPA). The visibility map and digital modeling demonstrated that the wind facility will be visible from certain locations along the western edge of the NEPA, notably on the ridge of higher land including the Black Bank Hill where there are views across the NEPA to the wind facility.

The assessment of visual impact of the Dufferin Wind Power Project took into account the scenic rankings identified in the NEPA Landscape Evaluation Study (1976), distance from the observation point to the wind facility and the complexity of the landscape which together determines the significance of visual impact.

Although the wind facility will be visible from various vantage points, the photographic simulations illustrated that the impact to the scenic resources is not significant. The views are localized, there would be no loss of views, and the alteration to the views is modest because of the distance to the wind facility and the absorption capacity (complexity) of the landscape that is being viewed.

Concerns related to consultation

While mandatory consultation requirements are specified in the REA Regulation (O. Reg. 359/09), it is not prescriptive in regards to the techniques or methods used. The MOE has reviewed the proponent’s Consultation Report and deemed that it satisfies the legislative requirements outlined in O. Reg. 359/09.

The Company conducted an extensive consultation program that commenced in 2007, including hosting thirteen public meetings, releasing draft REA reports for public review, providing a toll free phone number and project e-mail address to help direct questions to appropriate parties. and numerous meetings with local residents, government agencies and Aboriginal communities.

The MOE has imposed a condition in the REA requiring the proponent to create a Community Liaison Committee for the Dufferin Wind Power Project. This Community Liaison Committee will be made up of individuals in the community and Company representatives. The aim of the committee will be to act as a liaison, facilitating two way communications between the Company and members of the public with respect to the project. It will provide a forum for the Company to provide regular updates to the community.

Submission of papers for review

Comments were received that included reference to research and papers on various wind topics. MOE staff are currently reviewing these papers.

Concerns related to fires

As part of the project, a fire response plan is being developed in consultation with local fire departments and emergency response teams to be used in the unlikely event that a fire was to occur.

As part of the Design and Operations Report, Dufferin Wind Power Inc. provided information on how the proponent can be contacted and how the proponent will provide information to the public in case of an emergency. Further, Dufferin Wind Power Inc. prepared an emergency response and communications plan for the project.

Concerns related to waterbodies

MOE staff have reviewed the Water Assessment and Water Body Report provided by the Company. The MOE reviewer has confirmed that the document has met the requirements of Ontario Regulation 359/09. Conditions have been included with the approval to manage stormwater and control sediment and erosion, and carry out specific actions should foundation dewatering or water takings exceed 50, 000 litres per day. Provided that the mitigation measures outlined in this report and the Construction Plan Report are followed, no ground or surface water impacts are anticipated from this project.

Concerns regarding landowner rights, restrictions and encroachment

Proponents of a renewable energy project are advised to consider the noise impacts of its project on existing and potential future noise receptors prior to the submission of an application for a Renewable Energy Approval to the MOE. The MOE recognizes that a proponent’s ability to assess noise impacts may be affected by the availability of information at the time. Accordingly, it is recommended that when a proponent is preparing a detailed noise assessment for submission to the MOE, that the assessment address the impact on noise receptors based on the location of noise receptors from the proposed wind turbine layout at the time when the wind turbine layout is made publicly available.

The noise report identified several vacant lots. Our detailed review of the noise assessment found that the noise assessment of the vacant lot receptors is consistent with O. Reg. 359/09 and the 2008 Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms document.

Concerns regarding aggregate resources

Wind turbines do not sterilize the underlying bedrock. After the project life span and decommissioning of the wind farm, the bedrock will remain available for exploitation.

Concerns regarding meteorological tower locations

The meteorological tower locations were chosen by the Company’s Consulting Atmospheric Physicist as the best locations to represent the wind regime within the project area.

Concerns related to stray voltage

MOE staff have been advised by the Ministry of Energy that electrical phenomena such as stray voltage occur on all electricity distribution systems, and are not unique to systems located near wind generators. The Ministry of Energy also advises that none of these phenomena have been identified by Health Canada as hazardous to humans.

All electrical equipment will be solidly grounded to a robust, in-earth grounding system per applicable codes and standards, including the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). Since stray voltage is caused by a potential (voltage) difference between the neutral and earth, the solid bonding of the neutral to earth will eliminate, or significantly reduce any stray voltage to well within safe levels.

Concerns regarding the procedural requirements of O. Reg. 359/09, including outstanding information

MOE staff have reviewed the proponent’s project documentation and it has been determined that all reports comply with O. Reg. 359/09.

Support for the project

A number of comments were submitted in support of the project. These comments were noted and considered.

Detailed comments from legal counsels representing specific groups

Several specific letters were provided from legal counsels representing individuals in the community. Each of these letters were considered separately.

Detailed comments from municipalities

Detailed comments were provided by the county of Dufferin, Township of Melancthon, Township of Amaranth, Township of Mulmur and Town of Shelburne. Each of these municipalities' comments were considered separately.

Out of scope comments

These comments were not project specific and rather related to political statements, government policy, or the regulatory framework.

As these comments did not pertain to the project, Ministry staff did not consider them in the decision making process. As per section 35 (2) of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 “For the purposes of subsection (1), a comment on the legislative or regulatory framework within which the decision whether or not to implement a proposal for an instrument is to be made is not a comment relevant to the proposal for the instrument.”

Note – This is the end of the decision notice. Please disregard the “Leave to Appeal Provisions” section below.

Leave to Appeal Provisions:

Any resident of Ontario may seek leave to appeal this decision, by serving written Notice, within 15 days of June 10, 2013 upon all of the following:

Appellate Body:

Secretary
Environmental Review Tribunal
655 Bay Street
Floor 15
Toronto
M5G 1E5
Phone: (416) 212-6349
Fax: (416) 326-5370
Toll Free Phone: (866) 448-2248

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario:

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
1075 Bay Street
Suite 605
Toronto Ontario
M5S 2B1
Phone: (416) 325-3377
Toll Free Phone: (800) 701-6454

Issuing Authority:

Vic Schroter
Director, Section 47.5, Environmental Protection Act
Environmental Approvals Branch
135 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 1
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1P5
Phone: (416) 314-8573
Toll Free Phone: (800) 461-6290

Proponent:

Dufferin Wind Power Inc.
161 Bay Street
Suite 4550
Toronto Ontario
Canada M5J 2S1

An applicant for a hearing shall state in the notice requiring the hearing, (a) a description of how engaging in the renewable energy project in accordance with the renewable energy approval will cause, (i) serious harm to human health, or (ii) serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment; (b) the portion of the renewable energy approval in respect of which the hearing is required; and (c) the relief sought.

Further information is provided on the ERT’s website at: http://www.ert.gov.on.ca/english/guides/index.htm

If you have any questions about the hearing process please consult a lawyer or contact the ERT.

The attached Certificate document is intended for posting on the Environmental Registry in order to provide the reader with the substantive content of the issued instrument. Please note the official version may be differently formatted or otherwise contain minor variations from this version.

 
Contact:

Sarah Raetsen
Senior Project Evaluator
Ministry of the Environment
Operations Division
Environmental Approvals Branch
135 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 1
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1P5
Phone: (416) 326-6089
Fax: (416) 314-8452
Toll Free Phone: (800) 461-6290

Location(s) Related to this Instrument:

Township of Melancthon, Township of Amaranth, Town of Shelburne


COUNTY OF DUFFERIN

Additional Information:

The following government offices have additional information regarding this Decision. To arrange a viewing of these documents please call the Ministry Contact or the Office listed below.

Guelph District Office
1 Stone Road West
Floor 4
Guelph Ontario
N1G 4Y2
Phone: (519) 826-4255
Toll Free Phone: (800) 265-8658

Environmental Approvals Branch
135 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 1
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1P5
Phone: (416) 314-8001
Toll Free Phone: (800) 461-6290

The documents linked below are provided for the purposes of enhancing public consultation.
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