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Wind turbines could be coming to Hemmingford

A wind-energy project could be implanted in the municipalities of Saint-Patrice-de-Sherrington, Saint Édouard, Saint-Michel, and Hemmingford come 2027.

The Projet Éolien Les Jardins is currently being developed by Kruger Energy in response to a call from Hydro-Québec to add 1500 megawatts (MW) of electricity, generated from new wind projects, to meet the province’s growing energy needs.

The company held a public information session on May 31 in Sherrington to introduce the project and respond to any questions or concerns brought forward by the population. Several residents of Hemmingford were in attendance, including members of the Hemmingford Township municipal council.

A handout distributed at the meeting suggests the project will include 15 to 25 5-6.5 MW wind turbines, including two in Hemmingford, to generate 100 to 150 MW of power. The four municipalities have already been approached, and Kruger Energy has already begun working with local landowners. The Mohawk community of Kahnawá:ke is expected to be a co-developer of the project.

The turbines will stand around 130 metres tall, with a 160- to 170-metre rotor diameter. Kruger Energy expects to create around 250 jobs during the construction phase. Once built, the turbines will be connected to the existing transmission corridor that bridges with the substation already located in Hemmingford. They will have a minimum life expectancy of 25 years.

According to Hemmingford resident Catherine Stratford, locals brought up several concerns including property devaluation, the use of agricultural lands, the consequences of low-frequency sound and other health implications, the impact on bat and bird populations, and the effects of heavy trucks on rural roads during the construction phase.

Representatives from Kruger Energy patiently answered questions, noting wind farms have not impacted housing prices near their other projects. Whenever possible, the construction sites on agricultural land will be along existing farm roads; and, in general, cats and collisions with buildings are more devastating to birds than a turbine’s blades.

The project must also respect numerous constraints set out in municipal and provincial regulations that limit where turbines can be installed, including distance from roads, highways, and waterways, as well as houses, wetlands, and forests. The turbines must also produce less than 40 decibels of noise under all weather conditions.

“It was really striking to see them show the map of the proposed area and layer on the various constraints on where turbines would be allowed, including a minimum of 750 metres from any home,” says Hemmingford resident Jeff Turner, who is the mobility director for Dunsky Energy and Climate Advisors. “I think it just goes to show the steps that are taken to minimize the impact of modern wind farm projects,” he adds, noting around 95 per cent of the region is considered off-limits.

A full environmental impact assessment and consultation with the Bureau d’audiences publique sur l’environnement (BAPE) is planned for 2024-2025, when a request will also be submitted to the Commission de protection du territoire agricole (CPTAQ). If that’s accepted, the construction phase should begin in 2026, with the goal of commissioning and connecting the turbines by December 2027.

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