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Aulds Mountain III Wind Project

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NOVEMBER 2, 2023 UPDATE:

Natural Forces intends to bid the proposed Aulds Mountain III Wind Project into the provincial Green Choice Program Request for Proposals. Updates will be posted here on the project website and will be sent to our mailing list, which you can join below. The following notice was sent to members of the surrounding community: November 2023 Green Choice Program Notice

Mailing List

To join the mailing list for the Aulds Mountain III Wind Project and directly receive project updates, please click on the link below and fill out your contact information.

About The Project

This project is located in Mi’kmaki, the ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq. Natural Forces acknowledges that working on these lands is a privilege that comes with a great deal of responsibility. We believe that private companies have an important role to play in the decolonization of the energy sector and, ultimately, the path towards reconciliation through partnerships and meaningful engagement. To honour and achieve this, we must look forward for generations and integrate the practices and knowledge of the original land stewards, the Mi’kmaq, into project planning. 

The Aulds Mountain III Wind Project is being developed by Natural Forces. Natural Forces will construct, operate, and own the project. 

The initial plans are for the proposed project to consist of an estimated 12 wind turbines. Depending on which wind turbine generators are deemed most appropriate for the project, these 12 turbines could have a total installed capacity from approximately 50 MW to 84 MW. This would be enough electricity to power over 17,000 Nova Scotia homes. The project is located in the Pictou County in Piedmont, 23 km east of New Glasgow.

Project Updates

Provincial Green Choice Program Request for Proposals Update
Natural Forces intends to bid the proposed Aulds Mountain III Wind Project into the provincial Green Choice Program Request for Proposals. More information about the Program can be found here. Associated project updates will be posted here and sent to the Project mailing list as they become available.

Project updates will be posted here as they become available.
 

Who is proposing this project 

Natural Forces is an independent power producer that develops, owns, and operates renewable energy proejcts. Natural Forces was established in 2001 and has its head office in Halifax, NS, as well as regional offices in Quispamsis, New Brunswick, and Dublin, Ireland. Collectively, Natural Forces has close to 300 MW of renewable energy projects in operation across Canada, with several ongoing projects at various stages of completion in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Labrador, Ireland, and New York.

The senior management team at Natural Forces has over 70 years of combined renewable energy experience encompassing all project life cycle activities in a range of international locations including Canada, Ireland, Poland, the UK, and Australia. Natural Forces is an integrated developer and operator of renewable energy assets. The in-house team undertakes all activities from initial site selection, development, financing, construction, operations, and asset management. Our vision is to develop, construct, operate, and own clean renewable energy projects across Canada in partnership with local and Indigenous communities.

Why Here

When developing a wind project, it is crucial to find the best suitable location and community to host it. To do so, there are four main factors to consider during the site finding phase of development:

  • Wind resource
  • Distance to existing electrical and civil infrastructure
  • Environmental sensitivity
  • Socio-economic concerns

Nova Scotia has excellent wind resource, so generating electricity is feasible in many locations around the province. Factors other than the strength and consistency of the wind must be taken into account when considering a site, such as proximity to the electricity grid, road access, ecology, archaeology, and cultural significance, proximity to residential dwellings, and health concerns.

Natural Forces is also familiar with this area, seeing as the Aulds Mountain Wind Farm is located 1.5-2 km away from the proposed project site. Because of this, Natural Forces is already very familiar with the community, the wind resource, and the surrounding environment.

The location of the Aulds Mountain Wind Project was selected after a thorough review of all of these factors.

Stakeholder Engagement

The development of wind energy in Nova Scotia not only provides a clean and stable source of energy, it also positively impacts the community in a variety of ways. These include the increase in demand of local goods and services, and job creation during the construction phase. Natural Forces is committed to engaging with all stakeholders and stakeholder groups throughout the lifetime of the project, as we value community input greatly. Below are details on the newsletters that have been sent to our stakeholders, as well as summaries of the information that has been shared at our open houses. Interested in receiving our newsletters? Sign up here!

Newsletters

Natural Forces has engaged with, and continues to engage with, stakeholders through a number of avenues including newsletters. Each of the newsletters that have been shared with stakeholders are linked below:

Information Session 

Natural Forces has held one open house to provide an opportunity for the community to engage with the Natural Forces staff. The open house was held in person at the Merigomish School House. Natural Forces will continue to host open houses throughout the development of the project. All of the information that was included can be seen below:

What is the process?

1

Development
(Current Stage)

  • Assess the wind resource
  • Survey for environmentally sensitive features 
  • Optimize turbine location to capture the wind efficiently and minimize impact on sensitive features
  • Begin consultation with regulators and the public
  • Conduct and present the Environmental Impact Assessment for environmental approval
  • Apply for road, work and construction permits​

2

Construction

  • Clear trees for roads and turbine pads
  • Build access roads and pad areas
  • Pour the turbine foundation
  • Assemble the wind turbine
  • Connect to NS Power’s electrical grid

3

Operation

  • Commission the wind turbines to start producing power
  • Conduct post-construction wildlife monitoring
  • Monitor remotely for real time alerts when additional maintenance is needed
  • Operate for 30 years​

4

Decommission or Retrofit

  • Assess wind turbine after 30 years
  • Decommission wind turbines in 3-6 months
  • Reclaim the site to its former state OR
  • Receive approvals and permits to retrofit the turbine to continue harnessing energy​

Frequently Asked Questions

Natural Forces undertakes rigorous environmental impact assessments ahead of construction to determine existing environmental sensitivities and potential impacts on the project to the environment. This information will be reviewed by provincial government officials and will be open for public comment.

The proposed turbines will be set back at least 1.0 km from all cabins and houses.

Are wind turbines bad for my health? ​A study done by Health Canada in 2014 investigated the health effects of wind turbine noise. This study found that wind turbine noise was not associated with self-reported sleep, illness or stress levels. The summary of these results can be reviewed on the Health Canada Environmental and Workplace Health page and links to additional studies can be found in the following section.

For this project, Natural Forces leased land from private landowners and has made agreements with the provincial government for Crown land. Over the course of several years, we have developed trusted relationships with the landowners and in all instances the land remains in the ownership of the landowner and is leased for the duration of the project. No land has been leased from unwilling landowners.

During construction, Natural Forces makes every attempt to hire local contractors, using our in-house construction management company, Natural Forces Construction, to ensure smaller contractors are able to participate. 

Wind turbines have moving parts and therefore some sound can be expected. However, well-designed wind turbines are generally quiet in operation, and compared to the noise of road traffic, trains, aircraft, and construction activities, the sound from wind turbines is very low. As wind turbine technology has evolved, the sounds emitted have decreased. The further away you are from a project, the less sound it will make. This site will likely have trees and other barriers that would break a lot of the sound before it reaches homes. A typical wind project would have a noise level of between 35-45 decibels. For reference, the compressor of a refrigerator produces 40-45 decibels. (Check out the Energy Nova Scotia Wind Page for more information). Stories of excessive noise often come from areas where the turbines are very close to homes. Natural Forces follows the minimum standards for distance from residences laid out by local regulations, or a typical minimum of 1KM.

For more information contact:

Meg Morris, Project Manager
902-483-9592
community@naturalforces.ca

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