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Frequently Asked Questions

General information

1. Who is involved in the project?
2. How many turbines will be used for the project?
3. Where will the project be located and why here?
4. When will the project be built?
5. What steps are involved when choosing the turbine layout and project setback from turbine to resident?
6. Will the turbines be equipped with lights?
7. How many homes can a one megawatt wind turbine provide power to?
8. What route will be used to deliver turbine equipment to the project site and will roads need to be modified?
9. What type of access will be granted to snowmobilers, ATVers, hunters who currently use the project site?
10. Are there plans to increase the number of turbines or expand the project at a later date?

Benefits of Wind Power

11. What are the benefits of wind energy?
12. What are the economic benefits for the local area?
13. What will the project team do to ensure that the local community directly benefits from the project?
14. How many jobs will be created?

Environment, Health & Safety

15. What will be the project’s environmental effects?
16. What effect will the project have on my property values?
17. Are there health effects associated with wind turbines?
18. How far can ice be thrown from turbine blades?
19. How will sound levels at residences be studied?

Working with the Community

20. How can the community get involved in the project?
21. What is the Community Liaison Committee and how can I join?
22. Who do I contact if I have questions about the project?
23. How will I be informed of project progress?


General information

1. Who is involved in the project?

The municipal utilities have created the Alternative Resource Energy Authority (AREA). AREA will own the project and has commissioned Minas Basin Pulp and Power Company Limited to develop the project on its behalf. Staff at Minas have significant experience working on energy projects with local communities throughout the Maritimes.

2. How many turbines will be used for the project?

The project could have 7 wind turbine generators.

3. Where will the project be located and why here?

The small wind energy project will be in the district of West Hants near Ellershouse. The project boundary is illustrated below, south of the existing transmission line and east of Panuke Lake.



Immediately east of Panuke Lake is an ideal location for wind energy not only because the turbine locations have reliable wind resources, but preliminary work also suggests that this is an environmentally suitable location. These factors, combined with a very strong electrical grid connection, make this a model site for a small municipal wind farm.

4. When will the project be built?

The project will have 7 wind turbine generators, 4 of which will begin construction in early 2015 (phase 1) followed by an additional 3 turbines constructed in phase 2. Electricity will be produced for the municipalities by late 2015.

5. What steps are involved when choosing the turbine layout and project setback from turbine to resident?

There are several considerations and steps that go into determining where to put wind turbines.
  • Gather at least a year’s worth of wind data from a meteorological mast and generate a wind speed map for the site. This map is created by an independent consultant.
  • Determine site constraints – location of wetlands, sensitive habitats and vegetation, steep slopes, lot lines, roads and water courses, aviation and radar, and environment, health and safety constraints as regulated by Nova Scotia Environment.
  • An independent consultant would input the site’s wind map, terrain data, site constraints, and wind turbine technical information into a computer program that produces a turbine layout with the highest energy production.
  • An independent consultant would conduct sound and shadow flicker modeling on the layout to determine if it meets provincial sound and shadow flicker standards.
  • Once sound and shadow flicker standards are met, the layout needs to be approved by the turbine supplier to ensure that the wind conditions for each turbine location are within the turbine’s design parameters.
Ultimately, with regard to human health and safety, turbine locations must limit impacts on nearby residents and be deemed safe by Nova Scotia Environment before obtaining project approval.

6. Will the turbines be equipped with lights?

Yes, some turbines may need to be equipped with lighting to adhere to Transport Canada regulations. We will consult with Transport Canada and provide the layout of the wind farm. Transport Canada will then determine the type and extent of lighting required; however, red lights are typically used as they are less visually intrusive. For more information on the regulations regarding lighting towers see: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/publications/tp14371-menu-3092.htm.

7. How many homes can a one megawatt wind turbine serve?

An average household uses about 10,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each year. Since the wind does not blow all the time, a one megawatt (1000kW) turbine will produce a portion of its total capability. Producing at 32% of its total capacity, a one megawatt wind turbine would produce approximately 2,800,000 kilowatt-hours annually, providing enough energy for approximately 280 homes. This project will provide enough power for 4,500 homes.

8. What route will be used to deliver turbine equipment to the project site and will roads need to be modified?

We will complete a transportation plan for the project in cooperation with the Dept. of Transportation Infrastructure and Renewal to ensure it meets their standards. A preliminary study indicates that turbines will likely be delivered using the Hartville and Quarry Roads. At certain locations, turning radii will need to be widened and some roads on the project site will need to be modified. We will work with the community and the turbine manufacturer to ensure that all considerations are taken into account when planning the final route.

9. What type of access will be granted to snowmobilers, ATVers, hunters who currently use the project site?

We have met with a small group of snowmobilers, ATVers, hunters and cottagers and understand that the site is frequently used by recreationists. To facilitate continued site access, we are meeting with the project insurers to discuss conditions under which main access roads will remain accessible and only side roads to the turbines themselves would be gated.

10. Are there plans to increase the number of turbines or expand the project at a later date?

There are currently no future plans to expand the project.

Benefits of Wind Power

11. What are the benefits of wind energy?

Wind turbines produce electricity without the use of fossil fuels and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our carbon footprint. Wind energy also provides energy at prices that are predictable over the long-term to help avoid drastic fluctuations in energy prices that are common with fuel-based technologies. Wind power is a clean, domestic source of energy that helps increase the energy security of Nova Scotia.

12. What are the economic benefits for the local area?

This project will provide positive benefits to the local community and businesses in several ways, for example, the Municipality of West Hants will benefit from annual tax revenue (between $60,000-$100,000 annually) and the project will create jobs. During project construction, economic spinoffs will include accommodation rentals for workers and increased spending at local restaurants, stores, tourist attractions, and events/festivals. Once up and running, the wind farm may also attract tourists to the area resulting in increased spending at local businesses.

13. What will the project team do to ensure that the local community directly benefits from the project?

Minas Basin Pulp and Power is a local company who understands what it means to support rural communities. We are committed to using as many local skills as possible. Potential work includes environmental studies, geotechnical investigation, engineering, land and snow clearing, surveying, project site security, road construction and maintenance, turbine component transportation, turbine foundation construction, turbine installation, collector system construction, and substation construction. When sending out Requests for Proposals for project work, we will specify that greater consideration will be given to contractors who can provide local content on the job.

We are currently compiling a database of local skills and services that will be shared with project contractors to ensure that local people are hired to the greatest extent possible. If you have services to offer, please let us know.

We want to hear your ideas on local benefits. One of the early discussions with the Community Liaison Committee will be to determine ways the project can bring added value to the local area. We look forward to discussing this with you.

14. How many jobs will be created?

The project will require approximately 20 – 50 jobs of varying duration throughout the development and construction periods.

Environment, Health and Safety

15. What will be the project’s environmental effects?

This project is subject to a provincial Environmental Assessment. Studies and research for the Environmental Assessment are underway and must demonstrate that impacts on residents, wildlife and the environment have been minimized. Once a copy of the Environmental Assessment has been completed, it will be posted on our website. To learn more about the Environmental Assessment process, click here.

16. What effect will the project have on my property values?

Several studies have been conducted on the effects of wind farms and property values. One study looking at wind development proximity and property values shows that before project approval, property values decreased as a result of fear of unknown effects – this is known as anticipation stigma. However, once operational, property values rebounded due to a greater understanding of wind development effects (Hinman, 2010). Another comprehensive study of the impact of wind farms on property values was completed by Hoen et al. (2009) where residential home sales near twenty-four wind developments were examined. Using various methods of analysis, the authors found no impact on property values as a result of area stigma, scenic stigma, or nuisance stigma in relation to wind farms (Hoen et al., 2009). The report is available here.

17. Are there health effects associated with wind turbines?

Nova Scotia Environment requires proponents to undertake a rigorous Environmental Assessment process in order to minimize impacts on the environment and human health – the Minister of the Environment will only approve the Environmental Assessment once these conditions are satisfied. Modeling is required for shadow flicker and sound and the results of the modeling must adhere to guidelines adopted by Nova Scotia Environment. Several independent peer-reviewed studies have been conducted on health effects and hazards associated with wind turbines and have found no substantive evidence to suggest that people living near turbines experience health problems associated with shadow flicker, sound, infrasound levels, ice throw/shed, and electromagnetic fields. Major studies conducted are listed below.
18. How far can ice be thrown from turbine blades?

Typically, during periods of unbalanced icing, the turbine will detect the ice and automatically shut off, allowing ice to melt and directly fall off instead of being thrown. In general, ice is unlikely to land farther from the turbine than its maximum vertical extent (150m) and very seldom twice the height of the tower.

19. How will sound levels at residences be studied?

Nova Scotia Environment requires that as part of the project’s Environmental Assessment, a sound model will be generated including inputs such as residential locations, topography, turbine locations, and turbine size and sound power data. The model must show that the project turbines will not exceed a 40 dBA sound level at any residence. This is a sound level equivalent to a quiet library. Pre-construction sound monitoring will be conducted to determine baseline sound levels in the area. Post-construction sound monitoring will be undertaken to ensure we have not exceeded Nova Scotia Environment’s allowable standard.

A comparison of predicted sound modeling and measured sound results has been widely researched and findings show that sound modeling results are typically over-predicted and that conservativeness largely depends on site topography. For more information on a comparison of predicted versus measured sound results from wind farms, click here.

Working with the Community

20. How can the community get involved in the project?

We are committed to working closely with the community throughout the life of the project. Community members will play leading roles with early activities including:
  • Providing key information about the local area
  • Naming the project and designing the logo
  • Membership on the Community Liaison Committee (CLC)
We look forward to hearing from you!

21. What is the Community Liaison Committee and how can I join?

The Community Liaison Committee (CLC) will serve as a link between the community and the project team. The CLC will represent the community and will bring forward community questions and concerns and likewise, the project team will share up-to-date project information with the CLC. Learn more about the CLC on the Community page.

22. Who do I contact if I have questions about the project?

Feel free to contact Kris MacLellan, Energy Project Coordinator with Minas Energy at 902-229-0580, kris.maclellan@minasenergy.com or Mary Frances Lynch, Community Relations Manager with Minas Basin Pulp and Power, at 902-306-1449, maryfrances.lynch@minasenergy.com.

23. How will I be informed of project progress?

There are several ways to stay informed of project progress – regular project newsletters mailed out to residents and landowners, the project website, our e-mail list, public meetings, and one-on-one meetings. If you are interested in joining our email list please email us at maryfrances.lynch@minasenergy.com and we will add you to our distribution list.
 





 
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