Welcome to the official Barrachois Community Wind Farm website!
This website has been set up to provide information for the community and stakeholders on the Barrachois Community Wind Farm. As of January 2019, since the Barrachois Community Wind Farm was commissioned in September 2015, it has generated a total of 51.81 GWh of clean renewable energy.
About The Project
The Barrachois Community Wind Farm is located on privately owned land in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality near the community of Barrachois, located approximately 15 km west of Sydney, 4.5 km south west of Scotch Lake and lies adjacent to Grand Narrows Highway.
With an installed capacity of 4.7 MW, the Barrachois Community Wind Farm is estimated to supply approximately 1,461 homes with electricity while offsetting 10,604 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
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.
When developing a site for a wind turbine, its success is heavily dependent on the location’s environmental resources and societal impacts. While the wind strength and consistency has a major impact on the power produced, factors such as proximity to the electricity grid, road access, ecology, archaeology, cultural significance, proximity to residential dwellings, and health concerns should also be considered. The location of the proposed Hillside Boularderie Community Wind Farm was selected after a thorough review of all of these factors.
Projects in Operation Nearby
The closest wind farms currently operating in the region are:
- The Lingan Wind Farm Project, developed by Sprott Power and Glace Bay Lingan Wind Power Ltd. The wind farm is located approximately 30 kilometres east of the Barrachois Wind Farm.
- The Glace Bay Wind Farm, developed by Glace Bay Lingan Wind Power Ltd. The wind farm is located approximately 35 kilometres east of the Barrachois Wind Farm.
- The Donkin Wind Farm, developed by Glace Bay Lingan Wind Power Ltd. The wind farm is located approximately 40 kilometres east of the Barrachois Wind Farm.
- The Hillside Boularderia Community Wind Farm, developed by Natural Forces. This wind farm is located approximately 12 kilometres north west of the Barrachois Wind Farm.
Although the Lingan Wind Farm Project is significantly larger and the Glace Bay and Donkin wind farms are much smaller than the Barrachois Wind Farm, they provide a good opportunity for the local community to see how wind turbines look and sound first hand.
The Barrachois Community Wind Farm has now been producing clean, emission-free energy since the September 2015.
December 2017: The wind farm has produced 34.45 GWh of electricity.
Summer 2015: The wind farm is now operating and the construction of the wind farm is now complete. Pictures will be available shortly.
Fall 2014: The construction of the wind farm has now begun.
September, 2014: The Environmental Assessment for the Barrachois Wind Farm has received environmental approval by the Minister of Environment.
Natural Forces is committed to establishing positive relationships with the community by means of public meetings and community consultation. In doing so, we address all concerns pertaining to this proposed development raised by local residents and community members. The following is an estimated projected timeline for the public consultation that will take place in accordance with the following schedule.
- November 2011 – Presentation to CBRM council
- November 2011 – First Public Information Session
- May 2012 – Community Feed-In Tariff Approval
- May 2013 – Environmental Assessment Registered for Review
- August 2013 – Door-to-door in Barrachois Community
- September 16, 2013 – Second Public information Session
- Fall 2014 – Newsletter and website updates detailing construction progress.
- Fall/Winter 2014 – Proposed Construction Begins
- Spring 2015 – Project Commissioning
- Spring 2035 – Project Decommissioning
Throughout the length of the project’s development, construction, operational, and decommissioning phases, Natural Forces is committed to:
- Constant consultation with residents of nearby communities
- Continuous discussions with the local councillors, MLAs and business owners
- Informing the public of the project’s progress using this website, newsletters, public open houses and press releases.
- An increase in demand for local goods and services during the feasibility and construction phases of development.
- The creation of jobs within CBRM during the construction phase.
- The creation of a small number of permanent positions during the wind farm’s operational life for maintenance.
- Renewable energy supply in the region to help meet growing energy demand.
- Additional revenue for CBRM through the payment of annual property taxes by the project proponent, which will benefit all residents of the municipality.
- Help achieve government renewable energy targets. Targets are to produce 25% renewable energy by 2015 and 40% by 2020
What is the process?
- 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 Assessment for environmental approval
- Apply for road, work and construction permits
- 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
- 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 20 years
Decommission or Retrofit
- Assess wind turbine after 20 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
Environmental Impact Assessment
The Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Barrachois Community Wind Farm has been approved by the Minister of Environment on July 12th, 2014. The EA was registered on May 23rd, 2014 and was open for public comment until June 22nd, 2014. An environmental assessment (EA) is a tool that is used to predict and evaluate the environmental effects of the proposed Barrachois Community Wind Farm to determine the acceptability of the project. The EA has been conducted in accordance with the Nova Scotia Environmental Assessment Regulations.
Once Construction of the Wind Farm was finalized and Barrachois Wind Farm was fully operating, a bird and bat study was conducted onsite to determine the effects of the Wind Farm on the bird and bat community. The surveys involved regular searches around the base of the turbines . The carcass surveys were conducted during peak periods when bird and bat presence was higher (May to October). Searches were conducted twice a week.
Surveys were initiated in the morning at first light to minimize losses due to scavengers. The Barrachois site resulted in the discovery of two birds in 2015 and one bird in 2016. The first, is a suspected black and white warbler found on September 1, 2015 approximately 20 meters from the base of the lower turbine. The second was suspected to be a Magnolia Warbler found September 4, 2015 and the third was a suspected American goldfinch found on July 18, 2016, both found near the upper turbine.
The full report can be found by following the link below:
Frequently Asked Questions
- New energy generation helps to meet the growing demand for electricity.
- Increased diversity of supply increases security of supply.
- Aids in the prevention of biodiversity loss caused by unchecked world temperature rises.
For more information on wind energy in Canada, visit: www.canwea.ca.
Wind turbines start operating at wind speeds of 4 to 5 m/s (14 to 18 km/h) and reach maximum power output at around 15 m/s (54 km/h). In gale force winds (25 m/s, 90+ km/h) wind turbines shut down to reduce unnecessary wear and tear. For more information on wind energy, see the CanWEA factsheets on wind energy.
The greatest impact to wildlife is climate change, and wind energy is an important contribution to combating it. During the development of a wind farm, an Avian Impact Assessment Report is created and submitted as part of the project’s Environmental Assessment. The report typically contains detail on the avian monitoring methodology used, the associated data recorded, and the conclusions drawn.
Wind farms are popular with farmers because their land can continue to be used for growing crops and livestock grazing. Sheep, cows, and horses are not disturbed by wind turbines and often enjoy the shelter that turbine towers can provide from the wind and sun. Likewise, working dogs are also unaffected by wind turbines.
Since wind turbines are large mechanical equipment, they can be expected to produce some noise. However, as wind turbine technology has advanced, the sound emitted by wind turbines has decreased. The most up-to-date turbine technology has made the mechanical noise almost obsolete, resulting in only the interaction of the air and the turbine parts producing noise. This noise decreases as the radial distance from the turbine increases. To relate this, the compressor of a refrigerator produces 40-45 dB of noise. According to the Government of Nova Scotia, a wind energy project would have a noise level of between 35-45 dB at 350 meters away (Check out the Energy Nova Scotia Wind Page for more information). Federal and provincial jurisdictions establish minimum distances from turbines to occupied dwellings to minimize this noise.
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 slip, illness, or stress levels. The summary of these results can be reviewed on the Health Canada Environmental and Workplace Health page.