ISSUES/LOCATIONS

Documents Home
View PDF, DOC, PPT, and XLS files on line
RSS

Add NWW documents to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

News Watch

Selected Documents

Research Links

Alerts

Press Releases

FAQs

Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics

Videos

Allied Groups

Proposed Content for the Renewable Energy Approval Regulation under the Environmental Protection Act  

Author:  | Noise, Ontario, Regulations, Safety, Wildlife

[Note: These requirements are in effect as of September 24, 2009.]

Part IV – Explanation of Technology-Specific Requirements

A. Land-based Wind Turbine Facilities
It is proposed that wind turbine facilities with a name plate capacity equal to or less than 3 kW would not require a Renewable Energy Approval, and are therefore not subject to the requirements identified in this section. It is also proposed that proponents of these facilities will be exempt from having to obtain a certificate of approval under section 9 of the Environmental Protection Act. It is proposed that all other land-based wind energy generation facilities would require a Renewable Energy Approval.

Noise Setbacks
It is proposed that wind turbine energy projects be subject to a mandatory minimum setback of 550 metres from the closest Point of Reception [“any point on the premises of a person within 30 m of a dwelling or a camping area” Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms (October 2008)].

In addition to this minimum setback, all projects would be required to meet noise setbacks based on the following matrix:

Number of Wind Turbines Setback in metres (m) from closest Point of Reception corresponding to wind turbine Sound Power Levels in decibels (dBA)
102 dBA 103 – 104 dBA 105 dBA 106 – 107 dBA > 107 dBA
1 – 5 turbines 550 m 600 m  850 m  950 m Noise
study
required
6 – 10 turbines 650 m 700 m 1000 m 1200 m
11 – 25 turbines 750 m 850 m 1250 m 1500 m
26+ turbines Noise study required

Proposed setbacks in the noise matrix are consistent with the Ministry of the Environment’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms (October 2008) and the noise level limit of 40 dBA at the Point of Reception regardless of wind speed.

In order to account for the combined contribution from neighbouring wind farms when determining the setback, it is proposed that the number of turbines considered for determining the appropriate setback include all wind turbines found within the 3 km radius of the Point of Reception, including those turbines by other proponents existing or planned.

“Setback” refers to the distance in metres separating the centre of a structure, referred to as a Point of Reception in the Ministry of the Environment’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms (October 2008), and the base of the closest wind turbine. The noise emission level of a wind turbine must be the guaranteed values of the Sound Power Level corresponding to 95% rated power output. Should a Sound Power Level rating for a turbine fall between categories, it should be rounded up to the nearest whole number.

It is proposed that if a proposed wind energy generation facility has 26 or more turbines or has turbines with sound power level rating of more than 107 dBA, the proponent shall submit a noise study to the Ministry of the Environment consistent with Ministry of the Environment’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms (October 2008).

It is proposed that if the wind turbine project proponent should be interested in obtaining a lower setback than indicated for turbines it would have the option to complete a site- specific noise study consistent with the Ministry of the Environment’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms (October 2008) and the noise level limit of 40 dBA at the nearest Point of Reception. Under no circumstances can a site-specific study result in a setback lower than the minimum 550 metres.

It is proposed that the proponent will provide a frequency chart from the turbine manufacturer showing all tones generated by the turbine.

Small-Scale Wind Turbine Noise Requirements
It is also proposed that wind energy generation facilities with a name plate capacity greater than 3 kW with a sound power level rating less than 102 dBA will be required to submit the following information to allow the Ministry of the Environment to evaluate impacts: make, model, and year of turbine; turbine height; description of setting (e.g. rural, urban); proposed distance to nearest Point of Reception; and acoustic emissions of the wind turbine.

Transformer Substation Noise Setbacks
It is proposed that transformer substations serving the wind turbine project without noise abatement are to be located at least 1000 metres from the nearest Point of Reception, and transformer substations with an acoustic barrier at least 500 metres from the nearest Point of Reception. It is proposed that the acoustic barrier should break the line of sight from the transformer to Points of Reception – a solid barrier with a surface density at least 20 kg/m2 (kilograms per square metre).

It is also proposed that if the wind turbine project proponent should be interested in obtaining a lower setback than indicated for transformer substations it would have the option to complete a site-specific noise study consistent with the Ministry of the Environment’s NPC-233 Noise Guideline and the noise level limit of 40 dBA at the Point of Reception.

Setbacks from Roads, Railways, and Property Lines
It is also proposed that wind turbines must be setback a distance equal to or more than the turbine hub height plus blade length from all roads, railways, and property side and rear lot lines.

Bird and Bat Studies
It is proposed that land-based wind turbine projects must collect preliminary information about bird and bat habitat, determine and document site sensitivity through field investigation and identify proposed mitigation measures that may be required to address these impacts, as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment on natural heritage (see Part III, section 5).

Decommissioning Plan
It is proposed that proponents will be required to submit a decommissioning plan, which would address, among other matters, procedures for equipment/building, dismantling and demolition, site restoration and final residue disposal.

Conditions of Approval
It is proposed that proponents would be required to monitor and address any perceptible infrasound (vibration) or low frequency noise as a condition of the Renewable Energy Approval. The Ministry of the Environment intends to develop technical guidance on the monitoring of infrasound and low frequency noise to assist proponents in this.

It is anticipated that in appropriate circumstances shut-down conditions for land-based wind energy facilities may also be addressed through conditions of approval.

B. Off-Shore Wind Turbine Facilities
The Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Natural Resources are working together to develop future setbacks related to off-shore wind energy facilities that will address natural heritage, coastal impacts, and noise emissions.

Noise Requirements
It is proposed that for off-shore wind turbine facilities, the proponent shall submit a noise study that would take into account the unique noise conditions created by off-shore development.

Natural Heritage and Wildlife
It is proposed that sections 5 and 6 of Part III of this document do not apply to off-shore wind energy facilities as all proposed off-shore wind facilities will require review and approval by the Ministry of Natural Resources for access to Crown land, and therefore natural heritage, coastal, and bird and bat studies will be reviewed as part of the Ministry of Natural Resources’ requirements. Should studies with a similar scope be required as part of a federal Environmental Assessment, where appropriate the study requirements for provincial review will be harmonized with federal Environmental Assessment requirements.

Decommissioning Plan
It is proposed that proponents will be required to submit a decommissioning plan, which would address, among other matters, procedures for equipment/building, dismantling and demolition, site restoration and final residue disposal.

Download original document: “Proposed Content for the Renewable Energy Approval Regulation under the Environmental Protection Act

Download the Ministry of the Environment’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms (October 2008)

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate

Share:

Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook

Share

CONTACT DONATE PRIVACY ABOUT SEARCH
© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.
Share

Wind Watch on Facebook

Follow Wind Watch on Twitter