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    Source:  Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

    Call for comments: wind turbine bird guidelines  

    Source:  Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources | Action alerts, Environment, Law, Ontario, Wildlife

    Policy Proposal Notice:
    Birds and Bird Habitats: Guidelines for Wind Power Projects (2010)
    EBR Registry Number: 011-0112

    Ministry of Natural Resources
    Date Proposal loaded to the Registry: November 05, 2010

    Comment Period: 45 days: submissions may be made between November 05, 2010, and December 20, 2010.

    Description of Policy:

    The Green Energy Act 2009 (GEA) places a priority on expanding Ontario’s use of clean and renewable sources of energy, including wind power. A key element of the GEA is a new integrated approval process that establishes clear up-front requirements for most renewable energy projects. These requirements are outlined under the Ministry of the Environment’s (MOE) Renewable Energy Approval (REA) regulation (O.Reg. 359/09) and the Ministry of Natural Resource’s (MNR) Approval and Permitting Requirements Document (APRD).

    The REA regulation describes the requirements for wind power projects related to significant natural features, including significant wildlife habitat. Birds are an important part of Ontario’s biodiversity. To provide further clarity and certainty on the renewable energy approval requirements for wind power, MNR has prepared updated Guidelines for application to both Crown and private lands.

    The Guidelines address the new requirements of the REA regulation, incorporate new North American science and information and provide guidance on identifying and addressing potential negative effects on birds and bird habitats during the planning, construction and operation of wind power projects by:

    • focusing pre-construction monitoring on identification and evaluation of bird habitats to consider potential impacts of wind power development on birds and bird habitats;
    • identifying methods for evaluating the significance of candidate bird significant wildlife habitat and adopting a habitat setback approach, with assessment and monitoring based on proximity to significant habitat;
    • establishing of post construction bird mortality monitoring requirements for all onshore wind power projects, via an environmental effects monitoring plan; and
    • establishing a requirement for an additional two years of scoped monitoring when a threshold of bird mortality exceeds:
      • 18 birds/ turbine/year;
      • 0.2 raptors/turbine/year (all raptors);
      • 0.1 raptors/turbine/year (raptors of provincial conservation concern); or
      • 2 raptors/windpower project (<10 turbines).

    Purpose of Policy:

    To give notice of and invite comment on MNR’s proposed Birds and Bird Habitats: Guidelines for Wind Power Projects (2010).

    Other Information:

    The Guidelines support implementation of the REA regulation by establishing provincial guidance on identifying and addressing potential negative effects on birds and bird habitats during the planning, construction and operation of onshore wind power projects.

    MNR’s Guideline to Assist in the Review of Wind Power Proposals: Potential Impacts to Birds and Bird Habitats (August, 2007) no longer applies to wind power projects being reviewed under the Renewable Energy Approval regulation (O.Reg. 359/09). As interim direction until final Guidelines are approved, the criteria and procedures identified in these Guidelines will be deemed to be acceptable by MNR for wind power projects reviewed under the REA regulation (O.Reg. 359/09).

    The following weblinks provide supporting information about this notice:

    Birds and Bird Habitats: Guidelines for Wind Power Projects
    http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@renewable/documents/document/stdprod_071273.pdf

    Significant Wildlife Habitat Technical Guide (Ministry of Natural Resources)
    http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/FW/Publication/MNR_E001285P.html

    Additional information related to the approval process for renewable energy projects is available at:

    Approval and Permitting Requirements Document (Ministry of Natural Resources)
    http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@renewable/documents/document/277097.pdf

    Renewable Energy Approval regulation (Ministry of the Environment)
    http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/business/green-energy/docs/O.%20Reg%20359-09.pdf

    Additional background information on the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009, is available at the following websites:

    Green Energy Act website:
    http://www.mei.gov.on.ca/en/energy/gea/

    Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure website:
    http://www.mei.gov.on.ca/index.php

    Ministry of the Environment website:
    http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/

    Public Consultation:

    This proposal has been posted for a 45 day public review and comment period starting November 05, 2010. If you have any questions, or would like to submit your comments, please do so by December 20, 2010 to the individual listed under “Contact”. Additionally, you may submit your comments on-line.

    All comments received prior to December 20, 2010 will be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry of Natural Resources if they are submitted in writing or electronically using the form provided in this notice and reference EBR Registry number 011-0112.

    Please Note:  All comments and submissions received will become part of the public record. You will not receive a formal response to your comment, however, relevant comments received as part of the public participation process for this proposal will be considered by the decision maker for this proposal.

    Contact:

    All comments on this proposal must be directed to:

    Kathleen Pitt
    Program Officer
    Ministry of Natural Resources
    Policy Division
    Renewable Energy Program
    300 Water Street
    Floor 5
    Robinson Place South Tower
    Peterborough Ontario
    K9J 8M5
    Phone: (705) 755-5321
    Fax: (705) 755-1206

    To submit a comment online, click here.

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