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 and safety
The Ministry of the Environment (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 applicant 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 consultation process
While mandatory consultation requirements are specified in 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 applicant conducted an extensive consultation program that commenced in 2007, including hosting several public meetings, releasing draft REA reports for public review, conducting a telephone town hall, and numerous meetings with local residents, government agencies and Aboriginal communities.
MOE has imposed a condition in the REA requiring the proponent to create a Community Liaison Committee for the Adelaide Wind Energy Centre 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.
Concerns related to noise
MOE staff have reviewed the noise assessment provided by the proponent. MOE’s noise engineers have confirmed that the project will meet MOE’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms. Further, the noise assessment and the facility meet the requirements of O. Reg. 359/09.
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 District or Area Office. MOE’s first level of field response is provided by environmental officers working out of MOE’s District or Area Offices.
Impacts on natural environment and wildlife
MNR has reviewed the Natural Heritage Assessment and provided a Confirmation Letter as per section 28 (2) of O. Reg 359/09. MNR provided a letter for this project confirming that the applicant used applicable evaluation criteria or procedures accepted by the MNR for the determination of the existence and boundaries of natural features; site investigation and records review; and evaluation of the significance or provincial significance of the natural features.
A bird and bat monitoring plan has been developed in accordance with MNR’s guidelines. This monitoring plan has been reviewed and approved by MNR.
A condition is being imposed in the REA to require the applicant to implement its bird and bat monitoring plan, as submitted in its REA application.
Cumulative effects of noise from wind turbines are assessed in the noise impact assessment and found to be compliant with the ministry standards.
Wind turbines do not generate adequate electricity and are not efficient
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.
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.
The applicant will ensure that the project is built and maintained according to the standards in place as prescribed by the Distribution System Code and the Electrical Safety Authority.
The project is not proposing to connect to the local distribution system that serves barns and houses in the area, so it will not directly impact that service. However, the applicant will continue to work closely with Hydro One to mitigate any potential impact on local distribution customers should a situation arise.
Concerns related to property values
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 about impacts from construction
The applicant prepared a construction plan report which outlined how the company would minimize any potential impacts from construction or traffic.
The MOE has reviewed and imposed conditions relating to stormwater management and traffic management to ensure that these impacts are minimized.
Support for the project
Comments noted and considered.
Out of scope comments
A number of comments were received that were not project specific. As they did not pertain to this project, MOE staff did not consider these comments in the decision making process.
Note – This is the end of the decision notice. Please disregard the “Leave to Appeal Provisions” section below.