The ministry is proposing changes to its “Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms” (Noise Guideline). The current Noise Guideline was developed in 2008 to provide direction to proponents regarding the assessment of noise from wind turbines and transformer substations when seeking ministry approval for a planned wind facility.
The proposed changes to the Noise Guideline are intended to provide greater certainty, clarity and accuracy with respect to the assessment of noise from wind facilities. The proposed changes will reflect current science and guidance on noise, as well as the requirements under the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) Regulation (O. Reg. 359/09) made under the Environmental Protection Act for processing REA applications for wind facilities.
The Noise Guideline, along with the REA Regulation, is being amended to reflect an update to a CAN/CSA standard on wind turbine noise (i.e. CAN/CSA-IEC 61400-11). The latest version of this standard was adopted by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) in 2013. The Noise Guideline and the REA Regulation reference the standard. The standard provides a uniform methodology that ensures consistency and accuracy in the measurement and analysis of sound power levels for wind turbine generator systems. In the REA Regulation, sound power levels are important for establishing setbacks and classifying wind turbines. In the Noise Guideline, sound power levels are important for assessing noise impacts by wind turbines on receptors. Amendments are being proposed to the REA Regulation, in part to adopt the new CAN/CSA standard. For more details on the proposed amendments to the REA Regulation, a link has been provided to the associated Environmental Registry posting.
Attached to this posting is a document entitled “Summary of Proposed Changes to the 2008 ‘Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms’” (Proposal Document). The Proposal Document outlines the major changes proposed for the Noise Guideline. For reference purposes, a link has been provided to the existing 2008 Noise Guideline on the ministry’s website.
Some of the proposed changes will be applied using transitional rules. Generally, the transitional rules allow existing wind facilities to operate under current requirements, while ensuring that proposed new wind facilities or proposed modifications to existing wind facilities comply with the updated Noise Guideline. A similar transitional rule is part of the proposed amendment to the REA Regulation with respect to the adoption of the 2013 CAN/CSA standard on wind turbine noise.
All other proposed changes in the Proposal Document are clarifications to existing requirements.