Welcome to the official Fairmont Wind Project website! This website has been set up to provide information for the community, stakeholders, and Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia on the Fairmont Wind Project. As of January 2019, since the Fairmont Wind Project was commissioned on December 1st, 2012, it has generated a total of 81.71 GWh of clean renewable energy.
About The Project
The Fairmont Wind Project is located in the County of Antigonish, in the province of Nova Scotia. The project site is approximately 6 kilometers north of the community of Antigonish and 50 kilometers east of New Glasgow. The site lies adjacent to Fairmont Road, one kilometer southwest of Triton Brook Road.
This project is estimated to supply electricity to approximately 1,357 homes, resulting in an offset of 9,571 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
When developing a wind project, it is crucial to find the best suitable location and community to host it. Nova Scotia has excellent wind resources, so generating electricity is feasible in many locations around the province. However, factors other than wind strength and consistency 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. The four main categories of factors to consider during the site finding phase of development:
- Wind resource
- Distance to existing electrical and civil infrastructure
- Environmental sensitivity
- Socio-economic concerns
The location of the Fairmont Wind Project was selected after a thorough review of all of these factors. In-depth, site specific investigations and consultations will continue to be conducted, the results of which will be included in the project’s environmental assessment.
Projects in Operation Nearby
The closest wind farms currently operating in the region are:
- The Maryvale Wind Project, developed by Maryvale Wind LP. This wind farm is located approximately 10 kilometers north of the Fairmont Wind Project.
- The Dalhousie Mountain Wind Farm, developed by RMS Energy Ltd. This wind farm is located approximately 100 kilometers west of the Fairmont Wind Project.
- The Glen Dhu Wind Farm, developed by Shear Wind Inc. This wind farm is located approximately 20 kilometers west of the Fairmont Wind Project.
These wind farms, though larger in installed capacity, provide a good opportunity for the local community to see how wind turbines look and sound and to understand the potential influence that the Fairmont Wind Project may have on the surrounding area.
The Fairmont Wind Farm has now been producing clean, emission-free energy since 2014 and as of December 2017.
- July 2009: Wind Prospect Inc. submits application into Nova Scotia Power’s Request for Proposals for Renewable Energy from Distribution Connected Projects.
- January 2010: Wind Prospect Inc. is one of a small number of companies successful in Nova Scotia Power’s call for power.
- January 2010: Nova Scotia Power and Wind Prospect Inc. sign a Power Purchase Agreement.
- February 2010: Wind Prospect Inc. provides a company presentation and brief project overview to the County of Antigonish.
- February 2010: Public consultation starts.
- March 2010: Seasonal studies commence.
- April 2010: First public open house.
- May 2011: Draft environmental assessment submitted for review.
- May 2011: Second public open house.
- July 2011: Final environmental assessment submitted to board of review.
- July 2011: Rezoning approved by the Municipality of the County of Antigonish.
- August 2011: Full project consent.
- Fall 2011: Pre-construction activities.
- Spring – Fall 2012: Construction activities.
- Fall 2012: Commissioning of Fairmont Wind Farm.
- November 24, 2012: Official opening!
- September 2016: 48.54 GWh produced since opening.
- January 2019: 81.17 GWh produced since opening.
Articles and newsletters about the project:
- November 27th, 2012: Fairmont Wind Farm Officially Open For Business by Richard Mackenzie
- November 13th, 2012: Wind Farm Benefits Greatly from CEDIF by Richard Mackenzie
- May 17, 2011, 2012: Wind Farm Proposal Gusting Along by Richard MacKenzie
- March 16th, 2010: Introductory Presentation to Council
- January 27th, 2010: Press Release
- Constant consultation with residents of nearby communities
- Continuous discussions with the local councilors, 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 the Antigonish region during the construction phase
- The creation of permanent positions during the wind farm’s operational life for maintenance
- Renewable energy supply in the Antigonish region to help meet growing energy demand
- Additional revenue for the County of Antigonish through the payment of annual property taxes
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 Fairmont Wind Project has been approved by the Minister of Environment on September 8, 2011. The EA was registered in July 2007. An EA is a tool that is used to predict and evaluate the environmental effects of the Fairmont Wind Project to determine the acceptability of the project. In other words, it is used to determine the impact the project may have on the environment surrounding the project. The EA was conducted in accordance with the Nova Scotia Environmental Assessment Regulations.
The results of the EA can be seen below:
- Environmental Assessment Vol l – Main
- Environmental Assessment Vol ll – Figures
- Environmental Assessment Vol lll – Appendix A – H
- Environmental Assessment Vol lll – Appendix I – P
As well as online at the Environmental Assessment Website: www.gov.ns.ca/nse/ea
As a condition of the EA approval a post-construction survey for birds and bats was implemented. Accordingly, a study was conducted onsite to determine the effects of the Wind Farm on the bird and bat community.
Surveys were initiated in the morning at first light, prior to sunrise, to minimize loses due to scavengers. The searches were conducted in 2013 and 2014, one to three times a week between April and October. During this time, there were four bird and one bat observations in 2013 and only two bird observations in 2014.
The post-construction monitoring report can be found below:
2013-2014 Post-Construction Monitoring Report
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.