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Gaetz Brook Community Wind Farm

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Welcome to the official Gaetz Brook Community Wind Farm website!
​This website has been set up to provide information for the community and stakeholders on the Gaetz Brook Community Wind Farm. ​As of January 2019, ​since the Gaetz Brook Community Wind Farm was commissioned in December 2014, it has generated a total of 29.98 GWh of clean renewable energy.​

About The Project

The Gaetz Brook Community Wind Farm is located in the Halifax Regional Municipality, in the province of Nova Scotia. The project site is approximately 1.5 kilometers southwest of the Gaetz Brook community and approximately 9 kilometers east of Porters Lake. The site lies adjacent to Highway 107.​​

​​With an installed capacity of 2.35 MW, the Gaetz Brook Community Wind Farm is estimated to supply approximately 740 homes with electricity while offsetting 5,038 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.​

Why only one turbine?

As described in the ‘Why Here’ section below, there are factors that influence where a wind farm will be located – proximity to the electricity grid, road access, ecology, archaeology, cultural significance, and proximity to residential dwellings. These factors in turn will also influence how many turbines can be erected for a specific wind farm. The biggest constraint in the case of the Gatez Brook Community Wind Farm is the capacity on the electrical grid. The project is part of the Community Feed-In Tariff (ComFIT) program developed by the Department of Energy to help community groups develop renewable energy projects that connect to the distribution electrical grid feeding clean energy to local communities.

The distribution grid includes the power lines you see running along the streets whereas the transmission lines are the bigger power lines often found on top of the big metal structures. The difference is the distribution grid supplies power to local communities, whereas the transmission lines move power across long distances. The distribution grid can only support a specific capacity of electricity.

In the case of the Gaetz Brook Wind Farm the electricity produced will run along the distribution line to a substation and will supply electricity to local communities near the project. The substation closest to the wind farm could only support an additional 2.3 MW of energy. The single turbine at the Gaetz Brook Wind Farm supplies the entire 2.3 MW and therefore a second turbine could not be erected at this sit

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. ​​

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, and proximity to residential dwellings, and health concerns should also be considered. ​The location of the Gaetz Brook Community Wind Farm was selected after a thorough review of all of these factors​​

Operating Wind Farms Nearby

The closest wind farms currently operating in the region are:

  • The Goodwood Wind Farm Project, developed by Renewable Energy Services Ltd.  This wind farm is located approximately 41 kilometers south west of the proposed Gaetz Brook Wind Farm.
  • The Brookfield Wind Farm Project, developed by Renewable Energy Services Ltd.  This wind farm is located approximately 55 kilometers north of the proposed Gaetz Brook Wind Farm.
  • The Watt Section, Sheet Harbour Wind Farm Project, developed by Seaforth Energy and Eon Wind Electric.  This wind farm is located approximately 59 kilometers north east of the proposed Gaetz Brook Wind Farm

Project Updates

The Gaetz Brook Community Wind Farm has now been producing clean, emission-free energy since the Winter of 2014.
December 2017 – The turbine has produced 21.59 GWh of electricity.
December 2014 – 
The turbine is now producing energy!
Summer 2014 – The turbine is now erected.
Summer 2014: Turbine foundations have been poured and all civil works (road, foundation, crane pads) have now been completed!
Spring 2014: Geotechnical studies have been performed!
Winter 2013/2014: Access road upgrades have been completed!
Fall 2013: The Environmental Assessment for the Gaetz Brook Wind Farm was approved.

Community Engagement

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 development raised by local residents and community members. The following is an estimated project time line for the public consultation that will take place in accordance with the following schedule.
June 2011 to May 2012 – Discussions with local landowners, planners and council
March 2012 – First Open house
May 2012 – Community Feed-In Tariff Approval
May 2012 to January 2013 – Comprehensive consultation with local residents, MLAs, local business owners, local Regional Development Agencies and planners
December 2012 – Website built
January 2013 to February 2013 – Investment seminars
June 2013  – Second Open house
Winter 2014 – Newsletter released
May 2014 – Turbine foundation poured
July 2014 – Tower delivery
July 2014 – Tower installation
August 2014 – Turbine/blade delivery
August 2014 – Turbine/rotor installation
Summer 2014 – Newsletter released
September 2014 – Interconnection completion
Fall 2014 – Commissioning of the project
Fall 2034 – Decommissioning of the project
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 councilors, MLAs and business owners
  • Informing the public of the project’s progress using this website, newsletters, public open houses, and press releases.​

Community Benefits

  • An increase in demand for local goods and services during the feasibility and construction phases of development.
  • The creation of jobs within Gaetz Brook 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 Gaetz Brook region to help meet growing energy demand.
  • Additional revenue for the County of Gaetz Brook 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 40% renewable energy by 2020​

What is the process?

1

Development

  • 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​

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
Current Stage

  • 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​

4

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 Gaetz Brook Wind Farm has been approved by the Minister of Environment on November 15th, 2013. An environmental assessment (EA) is a tool that is used to predict and evaluate the environmental effects of the proposed Aulds Mountain Wind Farm to determine the acceptability of the project.  The EA has been conducted in accordance with the Nova Scotia Environmental Assessment Regulations.

​An electronic version of the EA is available on the EA Website or by selecting the following links:
Gaetz Brook Environmental Assessment
Turbine Specifications
Avian Survey
Bay Survey
Archaeological Resource Impact Assessment
Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study
Wetland and Watercourse Assessment
Vascular Plant Assessment
Noise Impact Assessment
Shadow Flicker Assessment
Community Engagement Plan
Public Complaint Procedure
Stakeholder Engagement
Consultant CV

Post-construction Monitoring

Once construction was finalized and Gaetz Brook 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. This bird and bat monitoring report consisted mainly on carcass search. The carcass search, were completed during peak bird migration, during the spring and fall periods.

Three times per week for 4 weeks; beginning mid-May 2015 and 2016. Three times per week for 8 weeks; beginning in late August 2015 and 2016.

In order to ensure minimal loss of carcasses due to scavengers feeding at night, carcass search began at first light. The search efforts were conducted underneath the turbine and also extended out 100 meters in each direction to cover an area of 3.14ha. A common yellowthroats was observed during the Spring 2016 survey.

The full reports can be found by following the link below:

2016 Post-construction monitoring Report
2015 Post-construction Monitoring Report

Frequently Asked Questions

Conventional sources of electricity come from burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oil and from nuclear fuels. There are fears of fossil fuel shortages and an international consensus that burning fossil fuels is contributing to the increasingly rapid climate change of the planet. As such, power generation from clean energy sources has become increasingly important. In response to this, the Canadian government has set targets to increase Canada’s electricity generated from renewable sources to 40% by 2020. The benefits of wind energy in Canada are extensive and include, but are not limited to:

  • ​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.​
Concerns among residents exist about the impact wind farms have on property and home valuation as well as health and noise. As a result, many studies have been done regarding these issues, the results of which are available on Government and Industry websites. To assist people in finding reliable information, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) lists Windy myths about Wind Power, which addresses many of the most common concerns about wind projects. Many more facts about Wind Energy can also be found on the CanWEA Wind Facts page (FAQ’s).​

​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.​

MORE PROJECTS

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Welcome to the website for the proposed Wejipek Wind Project! This website was created to provide information to community members, First Nations, government, and other stakeholders about the proposed project. Natural Forces is committed to meeting with stakeholders throughout the lifetime of the project. Open houses and other community engagement activities are planned for this project - the website will be updated as information becomes available.
Welcome to the website for Phase II of the Wocawson Energy Project! This phase has been named the Neweg Energy Project. This website was created to provide information to community members, First Nations of New Brunswick, the government, and other stakeholders about the project. Natural Forces is committed to meeting with rightsholders and stakeholders throughout the lifetime of 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 proposed Benjamins Mill Wind Project is being developed by a partnership formed between Natural Forces and Wskijnu’k Mtmo’taqnuow Agency Ltd (the Agency), a corporate body wholly owned by the 13 Mi’kmaw bands in Nova Scotia. Together, the partnership will develop, construct, operate, and own the project. The project is located in the West Hants Regional Municipality in Hants County, 14 km southwest of Windsor.