NORTH CAPE – The Environmental Impact Assessment report on the proposed 10-megawatt wind farm and energy storage system has been submitted to the federal and provincial governments for consideration.
The Wind Energy Institute of Canada ( WEICan) satisfied one of the requirements of the assessment this week by holding an open house and public meeting to explain the proposed $ 24.5-million project.
Federal funding for the project was promised by Prime Minister Stephen Harper when he visited North Cape in August.
Janet Blackadar, Maritime provinces’ manager of Environmental Sciences with the consulting company AMEC, explained the steps in the assessment process, which include noise monitoring, bird and bat-counting and assessing the natural environment.
While it is the large turbines that get noticed, Blackadar suggested it is the energy storage component of WEICan’s proposal that makes this an interesting project.
When wind power is being produced and when it’s needed are not always in sync, “hence, a project that’s looking into ways to store some of that power so that we can use it when we need it.”
The five turbines proposed for the project will be situated close to wetlands. Access gravel roads will have to be constructed and maintained year-round.
The area of the proposed wind farm was identified as a nesting area for the Canada warbler, but Blackadar noted a warbler nest was located near the base of an existing turbine.
Additionally, the report noted very little bird activity at the heights where the turbine blades would be spinning.
No residences are within 600 metres of any of the proposed turbine bases.
If federal and provincial approval is given early in the new year, Blackadar said some of the pre-construction activities, like clearing for access roads, will be carried out over the winter months.
The project would also include an electrical substation. All electrical cables within the wind farm would be buried.
Depending on what access route is chosen, the wind farm will use up between 2.13 and 2.70 hectares. Blackadar said about half of that land mass is identified as agricultural and the other half as wetland.
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