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We’ve seen this before: wind power developments start off with a few turbines and then become dozens, or as in the case of Armow, 45 turbines became over 90.

In this month’s edition of the AgriBusiness News is a report on the wind power development at Brinston, which was started by Prowind, and is now owned by U.S.-based EDP Renewables.

Brinston turbines plug in for pay

Carolyn Thompson Goddard

The AgriNews May 2014, page 4

BRINSTON: It’s official–the South Branch wind farm in Brinston is on the grid.

Ken Little of EDP Renewables Canada Ltd. told The AgriNews that as of March 4, the Commercial Operating Date granted by the Ontario Power Authority, the project’s 10 wind turbines were producing a combined total of up to 30 megawatts. [sic. Editor’s note: we think the writer means producing power]

An on-site substation changes the power frim 34.5 to 44 kilovolts, which allows it to travel to a Morrisburg substation on Flegg Road, and onto the grid.

According to Little, at peak construction there were over 105 people on site, but presently on average there are 10 workers completing this phase. In April, a team will begin site acclamation [? Ed note: reclamation?] which should take about a month.

During a site tour March 14, Little provided information on the Siemens wind turbines deployed at the site. He explained there are a number of regulations governing the noise level (which can’t exceed 40 db) location of the tower (minimum of 550 meters from human habitation) and require a number of scientific studies that need to be completed prior to construction. A drive in the Brinston area allows one to see the standing towers producing electricity from their long rotating blades.

Little told The AgriBusiness News it had been a very windy week so there had been a lot of testing done at the site. While it didn’t appear too windy at ground level on Friday, March 14, the wind speed up above turned the blades at 10-12 revolutions per minute–just short of the 14 rpm maximum–the tips soaring more than 500 feet at their highest point.

Standing at the base of a tower, a slight whistling sound was heard but no other noise was detectable.

The towers are located on land leased for 20 years–the life of the EDP contract–from local landowners. EDP will receive 13.5 cents per kilowatt-hour produced.

If the contract is not renewed, the towers would be removed and the land returned to its original condition , with access roads left for the use of the owner if so desired.

The wind farm is located on land already under cultivation. Little explained .75 to 1.5 acres were used per turbine and that farmers could till up to the edge of the access road and boundary ring around the turbine itself.

Little confirmed there are negotiations set to begin with the Municipality of South Dundas and the Township of North Stormont for the construction of additional wind farms in those townships.

With talk of a provincial election in the air, the project’s Houston Texas-based developer appears undaunted by the stance of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives. The official opposition party promises to review existing wind and solar operations and impose a moratorium on new ones if elected.

Editor’s notes:

First, these are power generation projects, not wind “farms.”

Other points:

-the quietest place to be is exactly below a wind turbine; the noise and infrasound can be experienced as far as 3 km

-the noise level in the regulations is 40 decibels or dB on AVERAGE: that means there are some very noisy days (and nights) allowed

-the significant problem with turbines is sound pressure; the province does not have any regulations pertaining to infrasound or sound pressure and will not even have a protocol for measurement until 2015

-at 13.6 cents a kilowatt, EDP is reaping the benefits of provincial subsidies, paid for by Ontario electricity customers–that is over $10 million a year, or $200 million over the life of the contract

-the amount of land used for the wind project is under-estimated

-the land can NEVER be returned to its original state: the concrete foundation remains

-the PCs are saying they will not fulfill wind power contracts which are not already constructed–no one said they will stop existing operating projects

Letters to the Editor of AgriBusiness News may be sent to rm@agrinewsinteractive.com