Dufferin Wind Power wins Ministry approval
Dufferin Wind Power’s proposed 100MW wind farm in Melancthon has won environmental approval, but there remains a long road to go before it can be generating energy
The Renewable Energy Approval (REA) by the Ministry of Environment is for all aspects of construction, including a proposed 230- kilovolt power line. However, DWP still requires permission from the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to build the power line.
As well, the REA is subject to a 15-day appeal period, which could mean that it would be subject to review by the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). And recently, in another county, turbine opponents Do sought a judicial review of an ERT decision. The court ruling, in effect, was that the ERT was competent to rule.
Melancthon Township Council is meeting today (Thursday) with its solicitor to review, among other things, details of a roads agreement with DWP. That meeting is within the council’s regular agenda but is likely to go behind closed doors, although Mayor Bill Hill wasn’t prepared to say as much.
The mayor did point out that DWP has yet to finalize an agreement with Dufferin County for use of the rail corridor. Any agreement reached would be for an easement along the exterior of the corridor, and not on the former rail bed, which is said to leave the corridor open to multiple uses or even to be restored for railway use.
Should leave to construct be granted, and should the county and DWP not reach an easement agreement, it is understood that DWP would have cause to expropriate.
At DWP, spokesperson Rebecca Crump said in an interview Wednesday that a final decision on construction of the power line from the wind farm to the Orangeville substation thence to the grid is expected within the next couple of weeks. At the OEB Wednesday, media contact Vanda Wall said she would check on the progress of the application but couldn’t promise to reach the right people immediately. Ms. Crump said DWP is “standing by” on negotiations with the county for a corridor easement. “My understanding is they wanted to see if the line (would be) approved prior to any agreement. We are open to reaching an agreement and look forward to negotiations,” she said.
On the routing of the 230kv line, Ms. Crump said DWP had (initially) heard that Shelburne wanted any line to be underground. She said DWP is now looking at several rerouting options but “from a technical and social view it makes most sense to go straight down the corridor.” However, she said DWP would be meeting with the municipalities “in the near future” to reach agreements.
At Melancthon, CAO Denise Holmes and Mayor Bill Hill appeared most concerned that they had learned of the REA issuance through a newspaper prior to hearing from Ms. Crump.
Ms. Crump said Wednesday she had received her (14-page) approval notification on Monday afternoon, had read it and circulated it internally as quickly as possible and had phoned the township within approximately three hours.
“It was a shock to me that word had gotten out. We very much want to be sure the township is kept in the loop. Sometimes it’s challenging as the (decisions are at) the provincial government.”
In fact, throughout the current saga beginning with the media conference call, Becky Codd-Downey at the ministry of energy (ENE) and Lyndsay Miller at Environment (MOE) have been helpful to the extent of providing almost instantaneous responses when they can; a surprising and welcome change from the past.
On the REA, Ms. Crump said the conditions attached to the approval are all satisfactory to DWP and are generally the standard ones.
Following is the ministry’s EBR posting:
A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to Dufferin Wind Power Inc. to engage in a renewable energy project in respect of a Class 4 wind facility consisting of the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of up to 49 turbines, 18 rated at 2.75 MW generating output capacity and 31 rated at 1.6 MW generating output capacity, with a total name plate capacity of 99.1 MW and a total expected generation capacity of 91.4 MW.
The wind facility will be connected to Hydro One’s distribution system.
This Class 4 wind facility, known as the Dufferin Wind Power Project, consists of areas required for the wind facility components, as well as for the transmission line. The wind facility is located in the Township of Melancthon, Town of Shelburne and Township of Amaranth, County of Dufferin.
“The REA requires the proponent to construct, install, operate, use and retire the facility in accordance with specific terms and conditions.
The terms and conditions, as summarised below, require the proponent to:
“[C]onstruct and install the facility within 3 years of the date of the approval; construct and install the facility in accordance with the documentation considered for the issuance of this approval; properly decommission the facility upon retirement of the facility; comply with the ministry’s noise emission limits at all times; carry out an acoustic immission audit of the sound levels produced by the operation of the equipment; carry out an acoustic emission audit of the acoustic emissions produced by the operation of the wind turbine generators; manage stormwater, and control sediment and erosion during and post construction; carry out specific items if foundation dewatering or water takings by tanker exceed 50,000 litres/day; implement the pre and post construction Natural Heritage monitoring program, which includes bird and bat monitoring; create a community liaison committee with members of the public and the Company; undertake ongoing Aboriginal consultation; prepare a Traffic Management Plan to be provided to the upper and lower tier municipalities and enter into Road Users Agreements; properly address any archaeological resources discovered; maintain records of the operation and maintenance of equipment and inspections and complaints related to the facility; notify the ministry of complaints received alleging adverse effect caused by the construction, installation, operation, use or retirement of the facility; and notify the ministry prior to a change of ownership.”
The EBR says that the renewable energy project “has been approved in accordance with the requirements of Part V.0.1 of the Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Regulation 359/09.”
Vanda Wall at the OEB said Wednesday the decision on construction of the power line is “in the process of being written. I can’t say when it will be available.”