AMHERST – It’s only in the planning stages, but a proposed wind farm on the east side of the Trans-Canada Highway already has people asking questions about noise.
Sprott Power announced last month plans to expand its Amherst wind project and is looking at land across the highway from the existing $61-million development that includes 15 turbines and will generate 31.5 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 10,000 homes.
That has some Amherst homeowners, living along the marsh, concerned.
“I am very concerned about this because those turbines could be less than a kilometre from my house,” said Michael Belliveau, who lives on Durley Street. “I have nothing against wind energy, but there has to be somewhere else they can build these things. What about expanding where they are now or going over to Minudie, or someplace where no one lives?”
Belliveau said he grew concerned when he saw crews from Sprott Power on the marsh last week installing what looked to him like a weather tower. The company uses meteorological towers to collect wind data to determine the best location to put its towers and turbines.
Jeff Jenner, CEO of Sprott Power, said Tuesday that his company is looking to expand its Amherst wind project, but it’s too early to speculate on where the turbines will be located and how many there will be.
The company is holding an open house at the Wandlyn Inn on Feb. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. to discuss the expansion and to answer questions residents may have about the project.
Jenner said neighbours should not be able to hear the turbines once they’re erected.
“You can go under a turbine and have a normal conversation,” Jenner said. “They do generate sound as the blade goes by, a whooshing sound. But the reason we have certain setbacks on our windfarms is sound dissipates with distance. By the time you’re 600 metres away from a turbine, generally speaking if it’s windy and the turbine’s moving you don’t hear it.”
The turbines, he said, will not be closer than the Municipality of Cumberland’s mandated setbacks of 600 metres and expects they could be farther than that from area homes.
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