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Turbines face opposition in Amaranth

Some wind turbines proposed for Amaranth are facing scrutiny by Grand River Conservation Authority, and others are finding a mix of opposition and approval from residents.

Following a public hearing on amendments to the Official Plan last Friday, and a further hearing on zoning Saturday, Township Council withheld its decisions pending receipt of more information, plus a further public hearing.

The Official Plan does provide for turbines on agricultural and rural lands. But that section is under appeal as a resident wants them to be permitted on other-than-rural properties as well. Because of the appeal, there has to be an OP amendment for each property where a turbine is proposed.

Additionally, the township requires site-specific zoning for each turbine.

Apart from the land-use issues, the council is seeking technical information about Canadian Hydro Developer's (CHD) choices of sites, as well as more detailed mapping, among other things. As one item of concern, the council is asking why the turbines have to be in clusters, rather than in a straight line.

GRCA, for its part, wants to ensure that all turbines are at least 25 metres removed from the outer edges of wetlands. In its comments on the proposals, it indicated it would wish to walk the sites with CHD officials.

On Saturday, CHD project manager Geoff Carnegie said he would work with GRCA to satisfy any concerns.

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Following a public hearing on amendments to the Official Plan last Friday, and a further hearing on zoning Saturday, Township Council withheld its decisions pending receipt of more information, plus a further public hearing.
 
The Official Plan does provide for turbines on agricultural and rural lands. But that section is under appeal as a resident wants them to be permitted on other-than-rural properties as well. Because of the appeal, there has to be an OP amendment for each property where a turbine is proposed.
 
Additionally, the township requires site-specific zoning for each turbine.
 
Apart from the land-use issues, the council is seeking technical information about Canadian Hydro Developer's (CHD) choices of sites, as well as more detailed mapping, among other things. As one item of concern, the council is asking why the turbines have to be in clusters, rather than in a straight line.
 
GRCA, for its part, wants to ensure that all turbines are at least 25 metres removed from the outer edges of wetlands. In its comments on the proposals, it indicated it would wish to walk the sites with CHD officials.
 
On Saturday, CHD project manager Geoff Carnegie said he would work with GRCA to satisfy any concerns.
 
The 20-30 turbines proposed for Amaranth would be part of CHD's Melancthon Phase 2, a project with an installed capacity of 132 megawatts. Each turbine is designed to produce 1.5 MW.
 
According to Schedules 3 and 4 of a report from township planner Nadine Tischhauser, 30 Amaranth lots would be affected by the Official Plan amendments, but only two or three of those would be subject to the proposed zoning bylaw amendments now.
 
The affected properties would be portions of an area between Highway 89 and Sideroad 25, from the Sixth Line on the east to the Amaranth-East Luther townline on the west. Amaranth is already a part of the project. The transformer and connection to the Hydro One grid is on Lot 15 in the Ninth Concession, and the 34.5kilovolt transmission line is along the Tenth line. There'll be a 69-kilovolt line along the townline to carry the 132 MW output of Phase 2. It wasn't clear whether this would be underground or above.
 
Although Ms. Tischhauser shows that the Amaranth turbine proposal "is consistent with the direction set out in the Provincial Policy Statement (Sections 1.8.1 and 1.8.3)," and the township's OP "supports the development of such facilities as a source of renewable energy," the project still has a distance to travel on the road to final approval.
 
The Amaranth public meeting came at a time when the turbines of Melancthon Phase 1 are coming on line. As a result, residents had already been fully exposed to the installations, and at least one objected to the lights on the towers.
 
The lighting, which Dorothy Matthews of Melancthon had previously described as "red fireflies," is an aircraft safety requirement of Transport Canada. Not all turbines have to have the light installed - at least, not under the present rules - but only those on the perimeter of the clusters.
 
According to a background report, CHD was successful in negotiating a reduction in the number of lights. As well, the report says CHD was able to avoid painting orange tips on the rotors, and to use a neutral grey for the towers rather than some other colour.
 
On aircraft, the township planner says the township needs confirmation that Transport Canada will allow the towers to be within 10 kilometres of an airstrip.
 
Property values were of concern to several residents, and CHD acknowledges that there has been no Canadian study on the issue. However, in a sampling of sales values in Melancthon, CHD says it found higher averaged sale prices on similarsized properties within the "wind plant area" than outside.
 
The differential between the asking and the sale price was more favourable inside the area with turbines. The report cites a U.S. survey of tax assessors nationwide found "no evidence supporting the claim that views of wind farms decrease property values."
 
In its background report, CHD also acknowledges that early-generation turbines were noisy. But it says the current ones have their gear boxes and generators insulated. As well, it says, the industrial turbines used in the local project rotate more slowly.
 
The industrial turbines in both Melancthon phases are on 80-metre towers. The rotor diameters are 77 metres, and the diameter of the base of the tower is five metres. Each turbine has an installed capacity of 1.5 kilowatts, at 575 volts. Each has a pad mounted transformer to convert the 575 volts to 34.5 kilovolts.
 
The turbines are equipped with wind sensors. If the wind is more than 90 km/h, the turbines would cease operation. CHD says each blade is equipped with a hydraulic cylinder to enable it to rotate 95 degrees to "pass the wind without causing lift," and the entire blade assembly can be turned to avoid the wind. Additionally, there is a secondary braking system. Once the concerns of the council and residents, as well as those of the GRCA, have been addressed, a further public meeting will be scheduled. The council's decision would follow that further meeting.
 


 


Source: http://www.citizen.on.ca/ne...

MAR 9 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1642-turbines-face-opposition-in-amaranth
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