At the end of a one-day continuation of the Ontario Municipal Board hearing into the transformers for the Melancthon II wind project, hearing officer Norman Jackson ruled that the hearing had ended but he would not deliver his decision and order for several weeks.
The decision and final order turn on approval of a second transformer at the substation near the 10th Line and 15 Sideroad in Amaranth.
There is no longer any dispute over Amaranth’s 22 turbines or pre-servicing, although individual site-specific site-plan approvals will be needed.
The decision might not be an easy one for Mr. Jackson to reach.
Simply stated, the existing transformer is in compliance with the Ministry of Environment (MOE) guidelines on noise but Paul Thompson, a nearby neighbour, along with Ted and Cheryl Whitworth, say there’s a constant humming.
Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. (CHD), nonetheless, is replacing the present transformer with a quieter model and twinning it with a second one that’s required for the total capacity (about 200 megawatts) of the Melancthon I and Melancthon II wind farms, and erecting more sound barriers as well as looking for the source of “reflective” noise.
The present transformer has a guaranteed maximum noise level within the substation enclosure of 83 decibels.
The two new transformers would have a guaranteed maximum noise level of the same 83 decibels, but two acoustical experts testified that the test noise level would be 71 decibels.
However, Mr. Thompson says he is not satisfied with the tests, as they weren’t conducted under field conditions, and neither the experts nor CHD would guarantee a reduction to the 71 decibels.
Perhaps complicating the issue, Mr. Thompson has launched a $1.25-million lawsuit against CHD and the owner of the substation site.
As well, CHD has time constraints for completion of construction of Amaranth’s 22 turbines and power lines, along with other requirements, failing which its agreements with the township would expire.
Mr. Jackson’s decision and order are expected before the end of the month.
By Wes Keller
6 March 2008
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