Today Algonquin released the draft site plan for the Amherst Island project. It looks surprisingly similar to the preliminary draft site plan that was released on December 6, 2011 at the open house. There are 37 turbines, still at 2.3MW each, for a total of 85.1MW, far above the OPA contracted 75MW. Earlier Algonquin was saying that they were planning on releasing this plan sometime mid-year, but I guess they decided to move it up.
While Algonquin (of course) is not commenting on why they decided to release it now, I assume they got wind (pun intended) of some efforts to file building permits on adjacent properties, which would potentially force the movement or even elimination of some of the turbines. The Ontario rules state that for vacant lots, Algonquin gets to pick the location for any future residence to suit their project, as long as it is “consistent” with ordinary building practices. If you look at the map, the gray squares are where Algonquin placed the virtual receptors. Where the actual owner of these properties might want to build is not a factor. Now with the filing of the draft plan (as opposed to the previous preliminary draft plan) those virtual receptors are fixed, and the adjacent property owners can no longer choose to build where they want.
The main value for me in the draft plan is that the receptors and turbines and their UTM’s are revealed. UTM’s are coordinates, in meters as opposed to degrees, of where the turbines and receptors are. I have a spreadsheet that takes these coordinates and calculates the distances. Given the numbers, their distance and the value of the properties, I certainly hope the noise consultant (Hatch, I believe) does a good job with the noise study. Many of the Amherst residents are fairly well-to-do, and are willing and able to contact acousticians and lawyers, and I’m betting any noise non-compliance will end up in court. And noise non-compliance is almost a certainty with this project plan.
In a particularly egregious example, the AI Public School is 573m from T6, downwind most of the time. The playground is even closer.
Here’s the numbers. There are over 600 receptors on the island itself, and another 900 on the mainland. I think almost 1500 receptors is a new Ontario record. Of the Island receptors, here’s the distances and numbers of receptors:
- Less than 550m: 10
- 551 to 600m: 30
- 601 to 650m: 37
- 651 to 700m: 43
- 701 to 750m: 54
- 751 to 800m: 52
- 801 to 850m: 68
- 851 to 900m: 51
- 901 to 950M: 44
- 951 to 1000m: 38
- More than 1000m: 200
Certainly the 427 receptors that are within a km of a turbine are at great risk for health problems and non-compliance, but the 200 receptors outside of that aren’t out of the woods. There have been credible reports from a number of projects that homes up to several km’s can have problems with noise.
UPDATE, same day. I’ve been working on assigning the Receptor numbers to actual people’s homes, and it has already become apparent that this plan was put together quickly. The UTM’s don’t match up very well with actual locations. As an example, the Caugheys have two existing receptors shown on their property. The first is their home at R350. There is also the horse barn at R194. I’m just sure the horses fell better already. Ross Haines’ home should be R431, but that is shown as a vacant lot, with the receptor placed down by the water. R289 is in Caughey’s vacant 200 acre “lot” across the street, but the virtual receptor looks to be in the Front Road right-of-way. And all of this is just from one small part of the Island.