Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project
November 19, 2015
Henri Garand and Paula Peel, APPEC
On Day Nine, APPEC expert witnesses Richard James and Steven Cooper provided acoustical evidence to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project.
The Tribunal qualified Mr. James as an acoustician on the basis of 40 years’ work experience and testimony at hearings in several American states and six ERTs.
James criticized WPD’s sound propagation modeling. The computer model is based on a single turbine as opposed to a set of turbines, and though specifically limited to one kilometre, it is used for calculations at greater distances. This leads to concerns about understating and under-predicting sound levels and under-representing the worse possible impact. Adjusting for model uncertainty and other factors, James expected a significant increase of 4.2 dB(A) beyond regulations.
While the model suggests compliance with Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) guidelines, James believes that the project will put 23 non-participating noise receptors in excess of 40 dB(A). Many more residences would fall outside MOECC guidelines because the summer/winter profile is flawed by not correcting for wind shear. Furthermore, since MM92 wind turbines have been the subject of a number of lawsuits, Mr. James contends that WPD’s modeling calculations are fundamentally too low.