KAREN McKINLEY, The Chronicle Journal, www.chroniclejournal.com
The Nor’Wester Escarpment Protection Committee says it has found errors and missing information in Horizon Wind‘s draft Renewable Energy Application (REA).
The protection group released its findings this week. The 200-page assessment covers the Environmental Screening Report (ESR), design and operations plan, construction plan and decommissioning plan.
The review was carried out by the committee and others from June to August.
Committee member Karl Piirik said Thursday the authors were concerned about what they called errors and missing information in some of the reports. The ESA alone, he said, had 139 issues identified by the committee.
“Horizon Wind said their reports would meet all the requirements set out by the Ministry of Environment. So far we don‘t see that,” Piirik said in an interview.
The biggest concern for the committee in the ESR involves noise and flicker studies, which he said were mostly based on computer models, not actual data collected from the site.
“Their findings didn‘t include all the receptors they placed around the escarpment,” he said. “This includes homes and vacant lots. They have to include vacant lots in case of future development.”
Piirik said the analysis failed to mention that some of the towers would cause light flicker. If they were set back farther from populated areas, they wouldn‘t be a concern, he said.
“What concerns us is these towers and turbines haven‘t been built, but Horizon Wind is using data in their report that is computer-generated, not collected from real working turbines,” he said. “They are working with estimates, and estimates leave a lot of assumption.
“We want to see more accurate data.”
Piirik said the noise studies were based on flat ground, or a constant base, that doesn‘t consider rocks, cliffs and ice for sound amplification.
Amanda Bay, a communications officer with Firedog Communications, who co-ordinates public relations for Horizon Wind, said Thursday all information pertaining to Big Thunder Wind Park has been released at open houses.
Bay said new information would be released to the public as it becomes available.