Letter to MOE – NRWC application not in compliance with MOE regulations

Subject: EBR #012-0613 on-going discussion
I am responding in regards to a recent letter / email exchange between Ms Garcia-Wright of the MOE (Environmental Approvals Access and Service Integration Branch) and Ms. Tuson of West  Lincoln regarding EBR #012-0613 – Niagara Region Wind Corporation’s REA submission to erect 77 (or 80?) wind turbines in West Lincoln, Haldimand and Wainfleet Townships.
The Provincial Government of Ontario has published a number of documents which articulate the REGULATIONS concerning the development of Industrial Wind Turbines. Until some agency of the Government provides new guidelines these are the regulations that apply to ALL CITIZENS of Ontario and to ALL DOCUMENTS submitted to Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment.
Below I enclose FIVE excerpts from documents each of which was written and published by Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment. Each excerpt explicitly states the REGULATIONS regarding a noise assessment calculation for REA model development.
NRWC’s application is NOT in compliance with the Ministry of the Environment’s own regulations. Each of these regulations involves a simple objective criterion. There is no room for discussion or nuance. Information provided by the REA application either passes or fails. On each of three criteria NRWC’s application FAILS. Applying the Province’s own regulations the Ministry of the Environment is legally bound to find the NRWC REA is NON-COMPLIANT. Ministry of the Environment MUST therefore deny this application.
 
1)      The applicant MUST ROUND the sound power level to the nearest whole number. There is NO choice. So using a number of 104.8 dBA in the noise assessment model is NOT permitted.
2)      The applicant MUST use “parameters …that reflect the worst-case noise impact by assuming the maximum acoustic immissions.” The Enercon data sheet clearly states their sound power level has an accuracy of +/- 1 dBA. Therefore NRWC’s application MUST use a sound power level of 106 dBA. There is NO choice.
3)      The applicant MUST use …. “The maximum acoustic immissions…. And the lowest sound level limit (i.e. high wind shear conditions)”.  MOE PIBS 4709e REQUIRES the application to use “data adjusted for the average summer night time wind speed profile, representative of the site.” HAF/IPC said the mid-summer wind shear in West Lincoln is 0.5. NRWC’s proposed installation which is also in West Lincoln calculates its noise assessment submission using a wind shear of 0.2. One of these values cannot be correct. SINCE, MOE RULES DEMAND use of the lowest sound level the 0.5 value is appropriate.
 
Noise assessment model reports for Seventeen Industrial Wind turbines installations using the Enercon e101 are available on the internet. Every one of the seventeen applications uses 106 dBA as the input into noise assessment model.
The Provincial Government and the Ministry of the Environment are the agencies that have produced the following documents: PIBS 8472e, PIBS 8540e, PIBS 4709e and NPC232.  These documents articulate the law relating to Industrial Wind Turbine development in this Province. You MUST apply your regulations. The minimum sound power level permitted for an e101 turbine is 106 dBA. NRWC’s application is NOT in compliance with YOUR regulations. It MUST be denied.


 
Letter from Agatha Garcia-Wright  to Ms. Bonnie Tuson
Dated January 23rd 2014
Ms.Garcia-Wright states:

Ms Tuson responds in an email dated January 29th
Specifically, I ask for an explanation regarding your earlier correspondence in which you indicated that the MOE would not be considering the documents sent to you regarding other wind developments that show a higher sound power level than what has been reported by the Niagara Region Wind Corporation (NRWC).  You stated that there are differences and I asked for an explanation as to what those differences are.  Neither of those questions was answered.  I also asked whether the MOE would also be dismissing the additional documents showing evidence of the higher sound power level as well but that was not answered either. “
 
ONTARIO GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS
PIBS 8472e Technical Guide to Renewable Energy Approvals, Page 72.
Specifications for sound power level used for determining setbacks correspond to the sound emitted while operating at 95% of the nameplate capacity rounded to the nearest whole number.”
 
PIBS# 8540e Compliance Protocol for Wind Turbine Noise
Guideline for Acoustic Assessment and Measurement Page 8
In this case, the noise assessment needs to be verified using the as-built layout affecting the complainant’s location and using the prediction model according to the Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms (2008), Reference [5]. Specifically the parameters to be used must reflect the worst-case noise impact by assuming the maximum acoustic immissions from the turbines and lowest sound level limit (i.e. high wind shear conditions).”
PIBS 4709e page 9
“6.2.3 Adjustment to Wind Turbine Generator Acoustic Emissions for Wind Speed Profile
The wind speed profile on site of the Wind Farm may have an effect on the manufacturer’s wind turbine acoustic emission data and, consequently, on the sound levels predicted at a Point of Reception. Therefore, the wind turbine generator acoustic emission levels must be consistent with the wind speed profile of the project area.
To address this issue, the assessment must use manufacturer’s acoustic emission data adjusted for the average summer night time wind speed profile, representative of the site.
PIBS 4079e Page 11
The noise assessment must represent the maximum rated output of the Wind Farm, and reflect the principle of “predictable worst case” noise impact …..”
 
Publication NPC232 October 1995, Page A11, Section A4:
PREDICTABLE WORST CASE IMPACT
The assessment of noise impact requires the determination of the “predictable worst case” impact. The “predictable worst case” impact assessment should establish the largest noise excess produced by the source over the applicable limit. The assessment should reflect a planned and predictable mode of operation of the stationary source.
It is important to emphasize that the “predictable worst case” impact does not necessarily mean that the sound level of the source is highest; it means that the excess over the limit is largest. For example, the excess over the applicable limit at night may be larger even if the day-time sound level produced by the source is higher.
 
Windpark Neuhof III                                       06/09/2010         107
Ontwerp Windpark Delfzijl Noord                   27/10/2010         106
Gattendorf Nord                                             18/11/2010         106
                Jokela_Master                                27/07/2011         106
KKJ         Makikangas_Master                        28/07/2011         106
                Helmste                                          06/09/2011         106 / 108NOTE 1
                Aseri_algne                                    05/09/2011         106
                Ljustorp                                          18/11/2011         106
VE           Skaiciavimai Dienos Metu              12/12/2011         106
Schall_Schatten_Volkwardingen                    15/05/2012         106
                Ilhow                                               29/01/2013         106 / 108NOTE 2
                Brunsbuttel                                     04/02/2013         106
Standort Garrel / Wardenburg                       08/04/2013         106 / 108NOTE 3
GlaxoSmithKline (Cork) NG3                        09/04/2013         106
Grytas C_2013_113                                      23/05/2013         106NOTE 4
Krumbecker Hof Hauptergebnis                   24/06/2013         106
South Kyle                                                    …/08/2013         107
NOTE 1
Text from seite (page) 6 of Helmste report. Note that in development of noise model the application includes a 2 dBA penalty to ensure compliance with worse case scenario.
“Für den uneingeschränkten Betrieb (Nennleistung 3.000 kW) wird für die sechs
geplanten Windenergieanlagen vom Typ ENERCON E-101 ein Schallleistungspegel
von LwA = 108 dB(A) (Herstellerangabe + 2 dB Zuschlag) berücksichtigt.”
NOTE 2
Text copied from the Ilhow project proposal. This states that for daytime operation the appropriate value to use in the noise estimate calculation is 108 dBA. During the night the e101 is operated in a de-rated mode producing just 1.5 MW of energy and that for this mode the appropriate sound power level should be 104 dBA.
NOTE 3
This table copied from the Garrel / Wardenburg noise assessment report shows that sound power level for the e101 is actually rated at 108 dBA for day time operation. The calculation includes a 2 dBA “allowance” or conservative noise estimate. For the night time turbines are all de-rated to produce less noise because it is acknowledged that 106 dBA produced at night will result in excessive noise levels.
NOTE 4
The noise assessment for the proposed Grytas C installation was completed by ENERCON. Yes, the same manufacturer that is producing the turbines for Niagara Region Wind Corporation.
It should also be noted that this document is dated 23.05.2013. That is after the date that which NRWC submitted their final noise assessment model documentation. Yes, they did submit additional information at a later date but they did NOT change the model.

— Carol Barker and Bill Morris

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