BY ANDREW SMITH
NORTH PERTH – A third-party review of the Conestogo Wind Energy project has highlighted some deficiencies in the documents, consultants say, including a failure to recognize community concerns.
Annaliese Grieve, project advisor with SENES Consultants Ltd., presented the findings of the peer review to North Perth council on Feb. 20. Grieve explained the peer review is a process to ensure that projects meet not only the criteria set out by the Ministry of the Environment, but also concerns raised by the community and local conditions of the study area.
“All of our environmental legislation in the province of Ontario must be applied in the context of the specific community and conditions of the project,” she said. “It was really important we have that understanding as well.”
Project manager Kyle Hunt said that in general, the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) documents provided by Invenergy Canada conform to the standard requirements of the MOE, but several areas require further attention.
“There were a number of deficiencies that were identified through the peer review that we feel need to be addressed by the proponent,” Hunt said. “The REA documents do not adequately address the community concerns, with respect to potential impacts.”
In fact, many community concerns such as shadow flicker and stray voltage aren’t even touched on in the documents, Hunt said. The noise study by Invenergy also needs to be updated, Hunt said, as the results are based on a conceptual General Electric turbine model.
“The proponent hasn’t committed to that being the final model that they’re using,” he said. “Once they do select that model, the noise profile of that selected model should be included in the noise report.”
Hunt also questioned the conditions used by Invenergy in their noise study, and that they don’t reflect the worst case scenario for the project.
“Our noise engineer found that the model parameters used may not reflect the worst case scenario for noise with this project,” Hunt said. “The result of that could be that the noise impacts are worse than those predicted in the report.”
The documents from Invenergy also fail to recognize several building permits issued in North Perth prior to the drawing of a draft site plan for the project. Grieve said Invenergy will have the chance to respond to the peer review and adjust their project accordingly.
“The proponent has the opportunity to change their proposal in response to comments received,” she said. “Those building permits should have been treated as receptors, and they weren’t treated as receptors.”
Mayor Julie Behrns said she was satisfied with the findings and recommendations of the peer review, and that the municipality’s comments will be included on the municipal consultation form as part of Invenergy’s project application.
“We have to be mindful that this is a professional document that the MOE will be taking into account when they decide the approval process,” Behrns said.
Hunt said Invenergy will have to address the municipal consultation form through the approval process with the MOE.
“They’re required to include that form in their consultation report, which is part of a submission to the MOE,” he said. “Through that submission, they will have to demonstrate how they’ve addressed the comments.”