MNO Region Nine Consultation Committee Tours Wind Farm
Hosted by the Niagara Region Wind Corporation
By James Wagar, MNO Consultations Assessment Supervisor
Over the past two years, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Region Nine Consultation Committee has been meeting with the Niagara Region Wind Corporation (NRWC) to discuss their planned wind power project in south-western Ontario. The Committee wanted to get up close to these turbines and NRWC responded by inviting Committee members on a field trip. In November, Committee members and NRWC officials went to visit ENERCON's turbines (the manufacturer chosen by NRWC) at an existing wind farm called “Bisnett” and owned by Boralex.
Our tour guide was an ENERCON engineer who answered just about anything Committee members asked, and they had lots of questions. The Committee and NRWC officials first met with their guide in Erieau for a great lunch of local fish and chips and discussed what they were about to see. The turbines in the tour were ENERCON's E-82's that stand about 120 metres tall.
Upon arrival, the Committee stood under the turbines and were told that these turbine used newer technology, which does require a gear box. Instead, it has a direct drive, which has significantly reduced noise.
The interior features a maze of buttons, screens and knobs that a technician used to explain provide how the machine operated. These turbines use significantly less oil (due to no gear box) reducing possibility of oil spills and fires. The towers are primarily cement and can be readily decommissioned.
Much to the Committee’s surprise, even inside they did not feel vibrations from the large spinning machines and there was hardly any shaking. After a good hour visiting the turbines, the tour was taken 550 metres away, which is the regulated setback for turbines in Ontario. From there, no noise could be heard from the machines.
ENERCON is a German based company that is supporting the Ontario economy by establishing a converter and control panel manufacturing facility in the Town of Lincoln (one of only two in the world) in south-western Ontario. This facility brings with it over 50 high paid jobs. In addition, ENERCON will be building a concrete tower manufacturing facility. The NRWC Project will create approximately 770 jobs annually during the four-year development and construction period and 110 long-term jobs during the subsequent 20-year operational period.
The MNO discussed the importance of contracts and employment for MNO citizens and NRWC agreed to participate in a MNO employment and contractors job fair in the Spring of 2013. This job fair will be co-hosted by Union Gas and include both companies’ sub-contractors.
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