AMHERST – Neighbours of a proposed wind farm between the John Black and Pumping Station roads are concerned with changes to the project they’ve been fighting against for a couple of years.
Natural Forces sent a newsletter out to residents late last week saying the project would have two turbines instead of three, but the turbines will be much higher than originally proposed.
“With this new development plan from the wind farm developers to construct two higher industrial wind turbines, instead of the original three smaller ones, do the residents of Amherst know they may be in the new flicker zone that wasn’t there before,” resident Debra Green said in an email. “Put it this way, if you are the type of person who loves the look of extra large industrial wind turbines towering over your town and are not concerned about your health, your family’s health or your environment you’re going to get a front row seat.”
Green said it was her impression there was a strict time frame for the project and that time frame has expired. When she was talking to an official with the Department of Energy when the project was first announced she was told the time frame had to be met.
“It appears to me that this project keeps changing conditions and time frames. I’m also wondering if new permits are being issued in a timely fashion when old ones have expired,” she said. “I was told that if the original conditions were not met, then this project according to the Department of Energy, would be scrapped and would not be reconsidered. The wind farm developers, who are not from our town are getting exactly everything they want.”
Green said the developers are allowed to keep changing the rules, conditions, and construction plans to suit their project’s needs to make sure this project goes full speed ahead, no matter what the cost.
Natural Forces vice-president of development Andy MacCallum said the turbines will be 25 metres higher and the blades five metres longer.
“Once we finalized all of our wind resource reports we found the wind speed was going to be lower than we thought it was going to be so we had to choose a different turbine,” MacCallum said. “It’s a taller turbine and longer blade so we can get the wind speeds we need that are higher up in the air.”
The turbines will be three megawatts each as compared to three two-megawatt towers
He said these turbines will be higher than the ones on the Tantramar Marsh.
“It’s a bit of a tradeoff. Less turbines means less roads we have to make and less of a footprint,” he said.
MacCallum said tree-clearing operations will begin within the next month or so and once weight restrictions are lifted in the spring road construction and turbine foundations will be laid.
He expects the turbines to begin arriving in late summer with erection during the fall and commissioning later in 2016.
The project will coincide with another project it’s doing in Pictou County in connection with Pictou Landing First Nations.
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