Proposed towers pose problems, says province
By Judy Myrden, Chronical Herald
The developers of a proposed $60-million wind farm near Hampton in Annapolis County “must go back to the drawing board” and relocate four turbines that are considered to be too close to cottages, says an Environment Department official.
Toronto-based Sprott Power Corp. was given provincial environmental approval to install 12 two-megawatt towers but has to move four turbines that may interfere with recreational enjoyment and health, states a ministerial decision released Monday.
Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau ordered the relocation of the Hampton Mountain wind project turbines, and this will require consultation with the Environment Department regarding noise and separation distances.
One of the turbines is located less than 400 metres from a cottage, and the owner has complained, while the other turbines are between 400 and 700 metres from cottages, said Peter Geddes, manager of environmental assessment for the department, on Tuesday.
“They’ll have to take a look at another place because quite a number of the seasonal cottages are (within) 400 metres to 600 metres.”
Geddes said the project received municipal approval before any limitations on setback distances for wind farms has been regulated.
Jeff Jenner, president of Sprott Power, said he hopes it will not be necessary to relocate the turbines.
“That is the condition in the permit, but we have already provided the ministry with information to address their concerns and so, hopefully, we have addressed their concerns (and will) not have to relocate those turbines,” Jenner said in a telephone interview late Monday afternoon from Toronto.
He said the department has raised concerns about the noise and proximity of the turbines.
“We have already addressed those items and we are going to re-address those items through the process,” Jenner said.
The turbines are set back 700 metres from any dwellings, which the company believes is “sufficient,” he said.
Geddes said the 700-metre distance refers to the setback from permanent dwellings, not the seasonal properties.
The company must resubmit new locations to the Environment Department, which may require further assessment, the decision states.
It also stipulates that prior to clearing and construction, Sprott must conduct a Mi’kmaq ecological knowledge study unless otherwise approved by the Environment Department.
The company must also develop and implement a noise monitoring plan prior to the Hampton Mountain project becoming operational. It must also have a plan to monitor shadow flicker to the “satisfaction” of the department.
The project is located about four kilometres north of the town of Bridgetown.
In its application to government, the developer indicates it hopes to have a buyer for the green electricity by March.
While the project has no immediate customers, Jenner said the company has been in discussions with the local municipal electricity utility and Nova Scotia Power.