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Wind turbine project plans and details of Invenergy proposal

BELWOOD - Invenergy Wind Canada is proposing to develop a wind farm with be­tween 25 to 35 turbines around this community.

The site for the turbines is approximately five kilometres northwest of Belwood, an area that falls within the Townships of Centre Wellington and East Garafraxa in the Counties of Wellington and Dufferin. Bas­ed on the Renewable  Energy Approvals  (REA) reg­u­lations, the project would be a Class 4 wind facility.

It is Invenergy’s intention to obtain a contract for the sale of elec­tricity from wind power with the Ontario Power Auth­or­ity. The project will require approval under  the REA.

The process replaces pre­vious requirements for sev­eral separate approvals under (among others) the Environ­men­tal Assessment Act, Plan­ning Act and Environmental Protection Act.

Invenergy officials state the site was selected by consid­er­ing wind resource assessment results, ease of access to the local electrical system, envi­ron­mental constraints, and loc­al landowner support. All project components, including tur­bines, feeder lines, and sub­station are to be located on private land or municipal rights-of-way.

Invenergy currently holds land lease options for the properties on which the project com­ponents would be located. The boundaries for the project in­clude Sideroads 15 to Side­road 25, along Wellington Coun­ty Road 16. From there, the boundary of the project runs northeast along the West Garafraxa and East Luther Grand Valley boundary road to the 10th Line in East Gara­fraxa.

From there the boundary runs southeast to Sideroad 10 in East Garafraxa, and west­ward to the Garafraxa bound­ary line. Another, smaller par­cel, runs southeast from Side­road 10 in East Garafraxa to Dufferin County Road 3, just below Marsville.

Project components

The basic components of the project include wind tur­bines, electrical distribution equip­­ment and other ancillary facilities. The major compo­nents of the project are:

- wind turbines;

- 690V /34.5 kV step up transformers (located at the base of each turbine);

- 34.5 kV collection system to link the wind turbines to the substation. Those lines are ex­pected to be primarily below ground on private land and overhead lines along municipal road rights-of-way;

- substation (to step up the electric output from 34.5 kV to 230 kV);

- a switching station at the point of connection with the provincial grid;

- turbine access roads;

- one meteorological tower (which is already installed and operating);

- staging areas for assembly of wind turbines, only during construction; and

- a temporary concrete batch plant (required only if con­crete cannot be sourced through local suppliers).

The wind turbines consist of the supporting tower, tower foundation, rotor blades, and gearbox and electrical genera­tor housing. While the final model selection is still un­certain, company officials stated it is expected that either GE 1.5xle or GE 2.5xl turbines will be used.

Each tower will be approxi­mately 80 to 100m high and the length of the rotor blades 40 to 50metres. The total tip height will be up to 150m. The land base required for each turbine, excluding the access road, is 0.25 acres excavation, 0.15 acres of maintenance clearing) once in operation.

The exact placement of the turbines is being confirmed and is subject to change based on comments from government agencies, aboriginal commu­ni­ties, the public, and land­own­ers.

The turbine layout takes into consideration the follow­ing factors:

- results from wind profile studies and anemometer data;

- site access;

- existing land uses;

- environmental and socio-economic information (such as the Grand River Conservation Authority regulated buffers, presence of wildlife habitat, vege­tation communities, loca­tion of historical resources);

- results from the sound assessment;

- interconnection econo­mics; and

- REA setback requirements.

Other facilities

Each wind turbine will re­quire an access road and under­ground electrical collection sys­tem. Access roads will be required to connect each tur­bine site to existing public roads or private driveways dur­ing the construction and operation phases of the project. Additional temporary crane travel paths will be required during construction.

Along the temporary con­struc­tion, access roads topsoil will be relocated, temporarily stored, and used to rehabilitate lands affected by construction. Where required, a gravel base of sufficient depth is to be installed for the movement of heavy construction equipment.

The location of the perma­nent access roads will be de­termined based upon turbine locations, accessibility of equip­ment to adjacent sites, and consultations with the landowner, with a view to minimizing effects on agricul­tural operations.

Potential project effects

Invenergy officials stated there are effects that are possible with the project, and those are under study as part of the environmental review. Any identified effects must be mitigated and those measures outlined in the REA reports that are being prepared.

Short term construction effects could include:

- erosion and storm runoff may require mitigation meas­ures to ensure no impact to water quality (increased sedi­ment loads) of local streams;

- protection of  surface and ground soil and water from any spills of fuel and oil;

- removal of active agricul­tural land from production;

- increase in particulate matter (dust) in the local area;

- noise from the operation of construction machinery and transport of materials into the project area;

- protection for loss of fish habitat as a result of stream crossings by the turbine access roads (to be confirmed);

- loss of terrestrial habitat through project construction (expected to be minimal as natural habitat areas are to be avoided as much as possible;

- disturbance of wildlife in adjacent habitat from con­struc­tion noise and human presence

- potential for traffic delays on local roads from construc­tion related traffic;

- public safety effects from operation of heavy equipment

- potential for effects on archaeological resources in the operation period (long-term);

- noise from operating wind turbines (all turbines have to meet the 40 dBA limit for non-project participating receptors);

- visual impact of turbines;

- potential for bird and bat kills; and

- potential for short-term noise disturbance effects in local area from infrequent maj­or turbine repairs


Vol 43 Issue 12


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