This ESR has been completed to assist Canadian Hydro in fulfilling the various regulatory requirements as mandated by provincial and federal government agencies for the development of the Melancthon Grey Wind Project. Specifically, this ESR is consistent with the provisions of Ontario Regulation 116/01 for a Category B Project and with the applicable NRCan and CEAA requirements. An interdisciplinary team of impact assessment specialists, using best practice principles (e.g., quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques), completed this ESR.
Field and analytical studies have been carried out during the ESR to fulfill data gaps and assist in the determination of potential effects associated with construction, operation, and decommissioning of the Project. As a result, various protection and mitigation measures have been identified to manage potentially adverse environmental effects. A project follow-up and monitoring program was also developed.
A comprehensive stakeholder consultation and information disclosure program identified key issues of interest to the local community and various government agencies. Based upon detailed analyses of the interests identified through the program, coupled with those recognized by the project team through the MOE's Environmental Screening Criteria Checklist (Appendix I), NRCan's scope of work (Appendix A2), and section 16 of the CEAA, the Project is not likely to cause important environmental effects, taking into account the implementation of appropriate protection and mitigation measures.
Further, potentially significant adverse environmental effects have been avoided through careful site selection, following good environmental assessment and planning principles, and adherence to regulatory requirements. The Project is located in a rural, agricultural area where it will not interfere with the existing natural features and has been sited in such a way as to minimize effects to agricultural operations. All potentially net adverse effects that could not be avoided by siting or through regulation can be effectively mitigated using proven, industry accepted methods and technologies. No significant net adverse environmental effects are expected.
As demonstrated above, the overall conclusion of the ESR is that the Project can be constructed, operated, and decommissioned in such a manner as to minimize potentially adverse effects on the environment, whilst enhancing the positive effects both locally and provincially. In particular, migratory bird deaths due to collision with the turbines are anticipated to be negligible given the absence of known migratory flight paths in the study area. Effects to breeding bird habitat have been minimized through siting initiatives and the mitigation measures proposed in section 7.10. Environmental noise levels at surrounding receptors are predicted to be within the applicable MOE noise criteria (section 7.8). Finally, published documentation has shown that there will be no negative effect on property values within the view shed of the turbines (section 7.5).
Significant net positive environmental effects are expected to result from development of the Project. Of note, the Project benefits include the provision of up to 75 MW of clean renewable electricity, increased investment into renewable energy, increase municipal tax revenue with limited demand for municipal services, and no emission of greenhouse gases. Economic benefits during the construction phase include increased local hiring and procurement of local goods and services. The operation phase should provide annual economic benefits including potential employment opportunities for roughly six full time operation and maintenance staff and about six secondary jobs (e.g., snow removal and road work).