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Hillside Boularderie Community Wind Farm

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​Welcome to the official Hillside Boularderie Community Wind Farm website! This website has been set up to provide information for the community and stakeholders on the Hillside Boularderie Community Wind Farm. ​As of January 2019, ​since the Hillside Boularderie Community Wind Farm was commissioned in March 2015, it has generated a total of 53.95 GWh of clean renewable energy.​

About The Project

​The Hillside Boularderie Community Wind Farm is located in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, in the province of Nova Scotia. The project site is approximately 5 kilometers southwest of the Bras D’or community and 18 kilometers northwest of Sydney. The site lies adjacent to Hillside Boularderie Road and approximately 2 kilometers south of Highway 105.

​This capacity is estimated to supply approximately 1,502 homes with electricity while offsetting 9,662 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.​

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, and 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. In depth, site specific investigations and consultation 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 Lingan Wind Farm Project, developed by Sprott Power and Glace Bay Lingan Wind Power Ltd. This wind farm is located approximately 24 kilometers east of the Hillside Boularderie Wind Farm.
  • The Glace Bay Wind Farm, developed by Glace Bay Lingan Wind Power Ltd. This wind farm is located approximately 30 kilometers east of the Hillside Wind Farm.
  • The Donkin Wind Farm, developed by Glace Bay Lingan Wind Power Ltd. This wind farm is located approximately 38 kilometers east of the Hillside Boularderie Wind Farm proposal
  • The Barrachois Wind Farm, developed by Natural Forces. This wind farm is located approximately 12 kilometers south east of the Hillside Wind Farm.

Project Updates

The Hillside Boularderie Community Wind Farm has now been producing clean, emission-free energy since the Summer of 2015.​
  • ​​Summer 2013: ​The Environmental Assessment was registered on May 1st, 2013 and was approved by the Minister of Environment on June 20th, 2013. For more Information, see the Environmental Assessment section of this webpage.
  • Fall 2013: Construction at the Hillside Boularderie Wind Farm is underway.
  • Winter 2013: Access road upgrades have been completed.
  • Winter 2013-2014: Turbine Foundations have been poured.
  • Summer 2014: Construction has been completed on the wind turbine towers.
  • March 2015: Turbines are Operational!
  • Summer 2015: Official opening of the Hillside Boularderie Community Wind Farm

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 will address concerns pertaining to this proposed development raised by local residents and community members. The following is an estimated projected time line for the public consultation that will take place in accordance with the following schedule:

  • Sept-Nov 2011 – Discussions with local landowners, planners and council
  • Nov 2011 – Open house #1
  • May 2012 – Community Feed-In Tariff Approval
  • Sept 2012 – Open house #2
  • Sept 2012-Dec 2012 – Comprehensive consultation with the Hillside Boularderie and Area Concerned Citizens Group, councilors, other local residents, MLAs, local business owners, local Regional Development Agencies and CBRM planners
  • Dec 2012 – Website built
  • Feb 2013-Dec 2014 – First CLC nomination period
  • May 2013 – Open house #3
  • May 2013 – Second CLC nomination period
  • August 2013 – Community newsletter/ construction notice
  • July 2013 – Projected project construction start
  • Sept – Nov 2013 – Access road upgrades
  • December 2013 – Turbine foundations
  • May 2014 – Tower delivery
  • June 2014 –Tower installation, turbine/blade delivery
  • July 2014 –Turbine/rotor installation
  • August 2014 – Interconnection completion
  • August 2014 – Project commissioning
  • August 2034 – Project decommissioning​

Throughout 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 Boularderie Island and the greater Cape Breton Regional Municipality 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 Hillside Boularderie region to help meet growing energy demand.
  • Additional revenue for Cape Breton Regional Municipality 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?

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 Hillside Boularderie Wind Farm has been approved by the Minister of Environment on June 20th, 2013. The EA was registered on May 1st, 2013 and was open for public comment until May 31st, 2013.

The decision is available for viewing on the EA Website as well as an electronic version of the EA or select the following links to view the EA:

An EA is a tool that is used to predict and evaluate the environmental effects of the proposed Hillside Boularderie Community Wind Farm to determine the acceptability of the project.  The EA has been conducted in accordance with the Nova Scotia Environmental Assessment Regulations .

Collaboration with government agencies, non-government organizations, First Nations and the general public is beneficial in identifying and mitigating any environmental, social or economical impacts the project may pose.  Natural Forces and consultants have conducted desktop and field studies on identified valuable environmental components.  These studies include:

  • Electromagnetic Interference
  • Vascular plant
  • Noise
  • Visual
  • Avian species
  • Bat
  • Heritage
  • Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge
  • Archaeology

Post-construction Monitoring

As a condition of the EA approval a post-construction survey for birds and bats was implemented. From this, 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 2015 and 2016, twice a week between May to October. During this time, there were no discovery of birds or bats at either turbine. An Acoustic Monitoring system was also put in place within the wind farm to record all ultra sonic sounds emitted by bats. The system was programmed to record sounds between 7 p.m. to 7 a.m during May to October in 2015 and 2016. The annual monitoring reports can be found by following the links bellow: ​ ​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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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.
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