September 20, 2011. I’ve had some time to read over the Notice and the Draft Report from Stantec that was posted on the project web site, amherstislandwindproject.com. Here’s some quick comments.
- The project study area has enlarged and moved since the first Algonquin public meeting several years ago. The KFN property is now included, and the grid connection point which used to be a Lennox (which was an obvious point) is now west of route 4, in the Taylor-Kidd industrial area.
- The Draft Report mentions a “temporary” dock, location unknown. I have to assume this is an effort to avoid triggering a Federal Screening, which would likely further trigger a Cumulative Envirnomental Assessment. I’d bet the dock will end up being “temporary” only in the sense that the 40-year+ span of the project is temporary. It is nonsensical to think anyone would support a quarter-billion dollar project with a temporary facility. I just hope the Feds don’t fall for this.
- They are planning on using high-efficiency, low-wind-speed (Class III) turbines, Vestas V100-1.8MW models. They will install anywhere from 28 to 42 of them, for a capacity of 56 to 75 MW. There’s no indication of where they will be placed, or where the substation will be. I’m unaware of any Vestas plant in Ontario, so exactly how Algonquin will be able to certify the Ontario construction quota is unknown. I suspect they’ll come up with some scheme acceptable to the government – a pretty low bar, to be sure.
- Algonquin expects to submit the final report in June 2012, and get approval to proceed in December 2012. Construction would start shortly afterwards with the project going live in February 2014.
- What about the birds? From the Draft Report: Birds, mammals, amphibian and reptile species are known to use the Project Study Area. Construction and operation of the Project has the potential to disturb wildlife (including mortality from direct collisions with project infrastructure) and wildlife habitat.The majority of Project infrastructure will be located on lands that are already a source of disturbance to wildlife, including right-of-ways and agricultural lands.
- So you can see they are already minimizing Amherst Island’s world-class bird populations. Stantec presided over Wolfe Island’s destruction as an excellent habitat for birds; I guess they are going for a repeat on Amherst.