Erie Shores Wind Farm
Erie Shores Wind Farm is a 99 megawatts (MW) wind farm developed by Erie Shores Wind Farm Limited Partnership. Over 5,260 hectares of farmland is optioned for wind power development in the townships of Bayham and Malahide in the Elgin County and the Old Houghton Township in the Norfolk County.
The wind farm utilizes 66 GE wind turbines. Each turbine has a rated capacity of 1,500 kilowatts. The wind turbines are dispersed over 25 kilometres of shoreline and extend up to approximately two to three kilometres back from the shoreline.
As part of the project, 24 kilometres of 34.5 kV underground cables and 28 kilometres of 34.5 kV overhead collector lines system were built on the site to collect and transport the clean energy generated by the turbines.
The power is stepped up to 115 kV and transmitted via a new 30 kilometre 115 kV transmission line (also built by this project) to a new Tillsonburg Junction, which is then connected to the existing Hydro One 115 kV circuit W8T to feed into the Ontario electricity market administered by the Independent Electricity System Operator.
It is estimated this wind farm will generate approximately 278,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy per year.
Visit the Wind Interpretive Centre pictured below located at 5361 Brown Road open Saturdays from 10am - 4pm through July until the end of August. Anyone wishing to book a tour of a wind turbine may call John or Aaron at the Erie Shores Wind Farm at 519-874-1461.
29 kilometres of the Northern Shoreline of Lake Erie between Copenhagen and Clear Creek is in the midst of a monumental wind power generation project estimated at $186 million dollars. The project will consist of the installation of 66 wind turbines, each with the capacity to produce 1.5 MW of electricity, making it Southern Ontario’s largest wind farm. The turbines will be hosted on more than 25 farms within Elgin County, Norfolk County and Tillsonburg. As a result of this massive undertaking, the local economies will be able to benefit from the construction and operation of the wind farm, as one of the key partners in the project has mentioned that they will seek to employ local people and use local suppliers and contractors, where possible.
The Danish Wind Industry Association has indicated that over the next few years, Canada will increase from the current 75 - 100 MW a year into an over 500 MW a year range. 99 MW of which will be produced from the Lake Erie Shores Wind Farm as it nears completion dates projected for April 2006.
When the project is complete, this wind farm will produce enough energy to service an average of 32,000 homes, giving Port Burwell strong recognition in the development of renewable energy sources in Ontario and on a larger scale, Canada.
Currently, the development of wind farms in Canada is relatively small, however the potential is recognized as the Canadian government sees this as an unbelievable job creation possibility as well as a strong initiative to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and global warming. The Erie Shores Wind Farm will allow an increase of today’s national wind energy capacity by more than 17 percent.
Additionally, this development will allow 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the major contributor to global warming, to be displaced from the environment annually.
Canada is on the list of 141 countries that have signed the Kyoto Agreement (an international treaty on global warming. Participating countries are committed to lowering their emissions of greenhouse gases) the potential for the development of additional wind farms increases greater than that of the USA, which is currently not included on the treaty.
About the Turbines & Wind Industry
Denmark is the world’s largest in the wind industry. In order to put the potential of this industry in Canada into perspective, have a look at these interesting facts on wind farms in Denmark as well as other facts on the turbines themselves:
- The sound of the turbines to operate is of the same level as a person speaking.
- Wind turbines reduce the emissions of CO2.
- Offshore wind farm locations are known to increase the variety of marine animals.
- As research conducted by the Australian Wind Industry Association indicates, the risk to birds is less than may be expected as not a single mortality of a rare or significant bird species was found as result of the study.
- The Danish wind industry has created over 20,000 jobs in Denmark
- Growth expectations for the wind industry are greater than the growth expectations for the Chinese economy.
- It is speculated that in 2008, 25% of power consumption in Denmark will be provided by wind power. Currently, it accounts for 20% of power consumption.
Partners Involved in the Erie Shore’s Wind Farm
The following is a brief list with background information on the companies involved in the development of the Erie Shores Wind Farm.
Clean Power Income Fund
With the addition of the 99 MW Erie Shores Wind Farm now under construction, Clean Power Income Fund is invested in 44 power generating facilities located in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and 10 U.S. states with a total capacity of 450 MW. Four environmentally preferred technologies – hydro, wind power, biomass and landfill gas recovery – delivered 1,643,500 MWh of electricity in 2004 under long-term sales contracts at minimal to zero fuel cost.
Clean Power is also a leader in North American sales of renewable Energy Credits and the first income fund to be certified under the Government of Canada’s Environmental Choice Program. The Fund is responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by some 6,000,000 tonnes (C02 equivalent) per year. Clean Power Income Fund’s units are listed and posted for trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the Symbol “CLE.UN”.
AIM PowerGen Corporation
AIM PowerGen Corporation is a prominent Ontario-based wind power development company with several projects under development in Western Canada, Ontario and Atlantic Canada. AIM is also evaluating several international sites for development.
GE Energy Canada
GE Energy is one of the world’s leading suppliers of power generation technology, energy services and management systems with 2004 revenues of nearly $17.3 billion. Among the world’s leading wind power companies, the company’s current product portfolio includes wind turbines with rated outputs ranging from 1500 to 3600 kilowatts, and support services ranging from project development assistance to operation and maintenance.
GE Energy has installed more than 5,800 megawatts of wind turbines globally. GE Energy’s 1.5 MW wind turbines, the largest assembled in North America, is among the world’s most widely sold and tested wind turbines in its size category. With over 3,000 units in operation in Germany, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Japan, China, Sweden, Norway and the U.S., the 1.5 MW technology has proven itself in wind regime and environment around the globe. The 1.5 MW machines feature a robust design for reliable performance, variable rotor diameters and hub heights to enable the optimization of a wide variety of wind sites; and variable speed control and independent blade pitch for reduced loads and cost-effective operation.
AMEC is an international project management and services company that designs, delivers and supports infrastructure assets for customers worldwide across the public and private sectors. AMEC employs 44,000 people in more than 40 countries, generating annual revenues of around $11 billion CDN. In Canada, AMEC has 4,000 employees working from 78 offices and is the #1 International Design Firm in Canada as ranked by Engineering News Record. AMEC’s shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange where the company is listed in the Support Services sector (LSE: AMEC.L).
AMEC’s wind energy business is well balanced to help develop the strong growth opportunities presented in wind energy markets around the world. Utilizing AMEC’s regional businesses in the UK and Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. In the UK alone, the business has a 10-year track record of innovative development, which has included the first offshore, wind farm at Blyth, Northumberland and the current co-promotion of a 702MW project on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland.
Black & McDonald
Established in 1921, Black & McDonald Limited is a privately held Canadian contracting company operating across Canada, the United States and in selected global markets.
The Company provides a full range of electrical, mechanical, utility, and maintenance services to commercial, industrial, institutional, and government markets. Black & McDonald is registered and licensed to do business in all territories and provinces, operating seventeen offices from coast to coast in Canada, with close to 2,000 employees. Our United States Customers are served from two locations, Kansas City and Salt Lake City. Black & McDonald Group of companies has a sales volume approaching $500 million CDN.
Ground Breaking Ceremony
Breaking Ground to Harness the Wind
“There once was a company called AIM
The Wild wind they wanted to tame
So they built huge turbines
Which made all the headlines
And thus won their new claim to fame.”
Mayor Lynn Acre
Mayor Lynn Acre of the Municipality of Bayham, Ontario was motivated to writing prose for the official groundbreaking ceremony for Erie Shores Wind Farm on Friday July 22nd, 2005 at Lake Winds Farm, owned by Mr. and Mrs. John and Marnie Sebok on Nova Scotia Line, west of Port Burwell, Ontario.
“We have believed in this project since day one and were proud to be the first to amend our Official Plan and Zoning By-laws to include wind turbines . . . thank you AIM PowerGen for bringing economic prosperity and notoriety to our communities,” Mayor Acre said.
The ceremony, picketed by the Society of Energy Professionals, IFPTE Local 160, citing wage and benefit grievances at Hydro One, was also attended by special guest The Honourable Dwight Duncan, Minister of Energy, Elgin County Warden James McIntyre, the Honourable Steve Peters, Minister of Labour, CEO of Clean Power, Mr. Stephen Probyn, Stephen Molinar, Mayor of Tillsonburg, Mayor John Wilson of Malahide, and Councilor Peter Black of Norfolk. The event celebrated the beginning of construction for 66 Wind Turbines to be located along a 29 kilometre stretch of shoreline on Lake Erie’s North shore between Copenhagen and Clear Creek, Ontario. The turbines will be placed on approximately 25 farms in the area.
The wind farm will generate 99 MW and be one of Canada’s largest wind power facilities, providing enough electricity for 32,000 Ontario homes. The $186 million project is funded and owned by the Clean Power Income Fund, and developed by AIM PowerGen Corporation that will use wind turbines made by GE Energy Canada and constructed by the joint venture of AMEC and Black & McDonald. A number of sub-contracting firms will be employed, including White Construction who have moved into offices in Port Burwell, Ontario. GE Energy will be the operator of the Erie Shores Wind Farm for the first four years.
Mr. Stephen Probyn, CEO of the Clean Power Income Fund said the project “took ages to develop . . . but when they (AMEC and Black & McDonald) start building – they really start building. There’s no grass growing under their feet . . . by next April we’ll supply power for next summer’s heat wave.”
Mr. Probyn said the wind farm has a 20-year contract to sell power to the Ontario Power Authority and that it will save 200,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, effectively cleaning the air for approximately 40,000 people. “That’s three times the population of Tillsonburg, plus five times the population of Port Burwell,” Mr. Probyn said.
Mr. Michael Jolliffe, Vice President Government Relations and Communications for AMEC said they will be employing as many local people and utilizing as many local suppliers as they can. He said “you’ll see significant activity in your local community . . . and it will all be happening between now and April of 2006.”
Mr. Jolliffe said AMEC is involved in every single wind farm in Ontario and calls AMEC the “leader in provision of services for wind power.” Their headquarters are in Oakville, but have offices in London, Sarnia and Windsor. Their geotechnical work is done out of the London, Ontario office.
President and CEO of AIM PowerGen, Mike Crawley said the event was “about two things . . . a solution to a problem, and the courage to act.” He said the government saw brownouts increasing and more kids with asthma so put steps in motion to find the most cost competitive renewable power source available.
“We’d like to thank the farmers . . . they took a well researched risk and saw their farms could provide not just food, but clean energy. They didn’t just sign a contract, they became partners. It’s your project and you’ll see the reality in the months ahead.”
A statement issued by AIM PowerGen quotes Vice President and co-founder Jay Wilgar of AIM PowerGen as saying “This facility will be a tourist attraction and will benefit the local community . . .” The release also states AIM is currently preparing an expansion to the project, which, if successful will increase the power output of the wind farm to 150 MW, upping the electrical capacity to power as many as 45,000 homes.
Mr. Wilgar said they might consider an offshore project in the area in as little as 5 years. He said an offshore project has many problems associated with the massive equipment necessary to construct the 3.6-megawatt wind turbines. The turbines on shore in the current Erie Shores project will be 1.5 megawatts. “The equipment necessary to build the turbines for an off-shore project only currently exists in Europe, and there’s no way to get it through our lock system.” He said the equipment is too large for flight. He also said they would have to resolve issues with soil and winter ice, and that currently the technology is twice as expensive as an on-shore project. “There’s no place on earth where there’s a fresh water off-shore wind farm.”
Minister of Energy Dwight Duncan said the event was monumental. He said the project “was good business sense” because it will create billions of dollars in new investment, hundreds of jobs, including creating direct and indirect jobs for the local economy. He applauded the project for supplying a new source of income for farmers and thanked local politicians for their progressive leadership. “It’s no secret that energy stimulates economic growth . . . it’s a vital component.”
Minister of Labour Steve Peters commented that a detour on route was good because it forced those attending to see the beautiful area. He encouraged the group to “stop off, buy some cherries, and buy some corn.” He mentioned that the area will also be contributing to another clean energy source, ethanol.
Mayor John Wilson of Malahide said, “We’re making history here today . . . and when we work hard we’ll all be winners.” He commented on Mayor Lynn Acre’s poem by saying, “I have to admit I wouldn’t be able to say most of the poems I know in public.”
Property owner Mr. John Sebok invited his grandchildren, Devon, Christopher, Meg and Troy to stand with him behind the podium. He said they wanted to support the project. “When we bought this farm, who would have thought that someday we would farm the wind? We’re honoured to host this ground breaking.”
E.T. (Ted) Whitworth, Councilor Ward 1 of Norfolk County in attendance at the function commented on recent objections put forth by biologist Dr. Scott Petrie from the Long Point Waterfowl and Wetland Research Fund and representatives from Bird Studies Canada to wind turbines in Norfolk. Dr. Petrie said at a recent Norfolk County Council meeting that, in his opinion, wind turbines in the Messiah’s Corners area would alter the path of tundra swans that use the area as a staging (feeding) area on their migratory route. Councilor Whitworth said, “I’ve lived here all my life and never seen a dead swan . . . the Bird Studies Canada building that’s a 3 story, 100’ long, glass walled giant would kill more birds than a wind turbine.” A Tillsonburg News article of July 18th quotes CEO and President Mike Crawley of AIM PowerGen as saying wind turbines that were earmarked for Norfolk would likely be moved to Elgin County if Norfolk representatives continue to object.
Wind Farm Construction a Giant Project
Not only will the wind turbines, at an overall height of approximately 380’ be gigantic, the construction process to erect the 66 wind turbines slated for the Erie Shores Wind Farm is also a mammoth project.
According to Dave Kiefer, Project Manager for White Construction, subcontracted by AMEC and Black & McDonald who have the construction contract to build the bulk of the plant and turbines, the next 3 * 4 months will be spent on building the footings for the turbines. The process involves building roads on the owner’s property to the wind turbine location, where 260 cubic metres of concrete will be poured into the 52’ diameter footing. 140, nine and one half foot long anchor bolts are placed within every turbine footing.
General Electric Energy who provides the turbines and will operate the wind farm for the first four years is scheduled to begin transport of the turbine pieces in November, and construction is scheduled to commence on the turbines in December 2005. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by April 2006.
A statement received from General Electric Energy’s corporate office said; in general approximately 7 – 8 trucks are necessary to transport the pieces for one turbine. The 37 metre long blades for the turbines will be transported on trucks that are approximately 145’ long. Due to their length, pilot cars or an “escort of some nature” is necessary for safety. Intersections may need to be cleared to accommodate the 135’ turning radius of the trucks that carry the blades, and special permits for overweight and/or oversized loads are sometimes necessary.
Once the parts are received, erection begins. Dave Kiefer said the crane used to build the towers has to be put together with another crane. The Manitowoc Crane, described by Mr. Kiefer as a “monster machine” takes 22 trucks to transport, and is known as a “crawler”, running on 2 tracks. One track alone needs an entire flatbed for delivery.
Mr. Kiefer said there are 2 cranes and 2 erection crews. Turbine pieces are stacked up and the nacelle is placed on top of the tower. Then the hub and blades are set into the turbine. Mr. Kiefer joked, “we use the crane to lift tired, overweight electricians into the nacelle so they don’t have to climb the ladder.” All workers on the tower must be harnessed off. A ladder goes up the tower and platforms are placed approximately every 1/3 of the way up so workers may rest before continuing up.
4 out of 5 of White Construction’s supervising crew are from the United States. The Health and Safety Manager is Canadian. Another 40 staff are local hires. “We utilize the services of businesses in the area for purchase of material and fabrication of specialty items like forms and bolts,” Mr. Kiefer said.
Every third tower will have FAA lighting placed on top of it to ward away any low flying aircraft. Mr. Kiefer said, “If a pilot flies close enough to a tower to endanger himself, then as the pilot in command he is not following FAA rules.”
A pilot himself, Mr. Kiefer flies his own Hyper Commanchie plane back and forth to his home in Indiana approximately every other weekend to be with his family. On spending so much time away from home, Mr. Kiefer said, “you have to really like your job to go and do it.”