Paintearth Wind Project noise/shadow flicker assessment results submitted to Castor town council at their May 9 regular council meeting. ECA Review/ Paintearth Wind Project LP artworkStu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published 11:25 May 20, 2022

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Castor town council read a report on the Paintearth Wind Project, noting as they did that some in the surrounding community are still concerned about the project. The document was read at the May 9 regular meeting of council.

Town Chief Administrative officer (CAO) Christopher Robblee presented councillors with the April Paintearth Wind Project update submitted by Paintearth Wind Project LP which described the type of wind turbines which may be included in the project and the fact that there may be more of them than initially stated.

“Since our January 2022 update newsletter, Paintearth Wind Project LP (PWLP) has been further evaluating the economic viability of specific turbine manufacturers/models and revising the Paintearth Wind Project (the Project) layout,” stated the report that was included in council’s agenda.

“As a result, and in order to improve economic competitiveness, PWLP is proposing to move forward with 38 Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy 145 5.0MW turbines with an update option of 5.2MW, as shown on the enclosed project layout.

“Please note that although this is an increase from the number of turbine locations presented in the January 2022 update, the chosen locations are in alignment with the current Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) Approval (Power Plant Approval 26122 D02 2020).

“The proposed turbine locations all fall within 50m of the approved locations. In total, the Project nameplate capacity will be 198MW. 

The updated layout, including collector line routing and access roads are shown on the enclosed Project layout,” stated the report, which also included a description of the turbines stating their height as 95.5 meters and rotor diameter of 145 meters.

The report also included a map depicting the results of noise and “shadow flicker” assessments.

“PWLP has updated the Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) and shadow flicker analysis, and the enclosed map shows the cumulative noise and results of the shadow flicker analysis,” stated the report.

“The NIA confirms that the project remains compliant with AUC Rule 012: Noise Control. A Project update was provided to Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) describing the Project changes. AEP confirmed that a Referral Report Amendment Letter is not required as potential environmental impacts have not increased.”

Readers should note “shadow flicker” occurs when turbine blades cast a recurring shadow onto the ground below, which may contain houses, farm buildings, etc. 

Some critics of wind projects in the past have claimed shadow flicker is linked to negative health effects such as seizures, although there is disagreement about the evidence for these claims.

The company stated they’ll soon be contacting certain members of the public regarding this project. “PWLP representatives will be reaching out to potentially impacted stakeholders over the coming weeks to discuss the proposed changes. 

In May 2022, PWLP intends to file an application with the AUC for a time extension and the above-noted Project amendments.”

“This is the controversial one,” said Mayor Richard Elhard. The mayor stated it was his understanding they’re reducing the number of turbines but proposing bigger ones instead.

While the report stated construction was anticipated to begin in fall 2022, Elhard stated, “’Anticipated’ is the key word.” Elhard added it seemed there were still members of the community opposing the project publicly.

Councillors accepted the wind project report as information.

This item reprinted with permission from East Central Alberta Review, Coronation, Alberta