FAQs

Throughout the life of a project, may it be during the development, the construction or the operation, many questions and concerns arise. To help answer these concerns, we've created a new FAQ page with the questions we've heard from community members. This page will be updated frequently as the project develops. If you would like more information regarding a certain topic or would like to ask a question, please send us a message using the 'Have Your Say' page.

How did the project get ComFIT Approval?

The project received ComFIT Approval because of the many benefits it will bring to the local and wider communities of Nova Scotia. The principal partners of the project are Natural Forces, twelve First Nations within Nova Scotia, and Wind4All Communities III – a CEDIF company to be established in 2015. The First Nations and Wind4All Communities III are both recognized as eligible community entities under the provinces ComFIT regulations, and combined, will own the majority of the project.

The province's CEDIF program is an investment fund which allows local residents, in fact all eligible Nova Scotians, to invest in local projects such as the Amherst Community Wind Farm. By investing in a CEDIF, you own part of the wind farm.

To learn more about this CEDIF opportunity, please visit www.wind4all.ca or contact:

Austen Hughes
902.422.9663 x 215
ahughes@naturalforces.ca

Will the wind farm affect property values?

There are many factors which may affect the value of a property and determining the impact that a single factor may have is difficult. However, studies have found again and again that there is no evidence that shows wind energy projects are having negative effects on property values. Although these studies may not have taken place in Nova Scotia, the diversity in the areas in which the studies have taken place show that the conclusions from the studies are applicable to many locations.

Here are links to many studies that have been conducted concerning property values.  

  • 2012 Assessment Base Year Study- Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC’s) study concludes that “2012 Current Value Assessments (CVA) of properties located within proximity to [a wind turbine] are assessed at their current value and are equitably assessed in relation to homes at greater distances. No adjustments are required for 2012 CVAs. This finding is consistent with MPAC’s 2008 CVA report. The 2012 CVA study also found that there is no statistically significant impact on sale prices of residential properties in these market areas resulting from proximity to [a wind turbine]. The study underwent a rigorous independent third-party peer review and includes appendices describing the study parameters and documenting the analyses.” 
  • MPAC NEWS Summer 2012 – Property Assessment & Wind Turbines: To date, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s (MPAC) analysis of sales has indicated that the presence of wind turbines that are either abutting or in proximity to a property has neither a positive nor negative impact on its value.

Do wind farms affect human health?

Wind energy is a safe and environmentally friendly form of new electricity generation. The balance of scientific evidence to date shows that there is no direct link between wind turbines and human health issues. Because it does not produce any harmful pollutants, wind energy can help reduce Nova Scotia's pollution emissions by reducing the need to produce electricity using fossil fuels.

Here are links to many studies that have been conduced concerning property values.  

  • A study done by Health Canada in 2014 investigated the health effects of wind turbine noise. This study found that wind turbine noise was not associated with self-reported sleep, illness or stress levels. The summary of these results can be reviewed on the Health Canada Environmental and Workplace Health page.
  • Study results by Simon Chapman, professor of public health at Sydney University, suggest that health problems attributed to wind energy are a ''communicated disease'' – or a sickness spread by the suggestion that something is likely to make a person sick. This is caused by the ''nocebo effect'' – the opposite of the placebo effect – in which the belief that something can cause an illness creates the perception of illness.
  • report released by the South Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA), consistent with most studies in this area, concluded that “…the level of infrasound at houses near the wind turbines assessed is no greater than that experienced in other urban and rural environments, and that the contribution of wind turbines to the measured infrasound levels is insignificant in comparison with the background level of infrasound in the environment.”
  • Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health: According to the scientific evidence, there is no direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects. (Summary P.3 / Wind Turbine Regulation in Ontario P.8-9 / Main Conclusions P.10) The Potential Health Impact of Wind Turbines
  • Expert Panel Review: There is nothing unique about the sounds and vibrations emitted by wind turbines. The body of accumulated knowledge about sound and health is substantial. The body of accumulated knowledge provides no evidence that the audible or subaudible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects. (Main conclusions P. 5-1 – 5-2) Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects An Expert Panel Review or Executive Summary & Biographies

Why here?

The location of the proposed Amherst Community Wind Farm was selected after a thorough review of wind resource, proximity to houses, proximity to the electrical grid, ecological sensitivity, road access and in discussion with the scientist at the Department of Natural Ressources. In depth site specific investigations and consultation were conducted, the results of which are included within the project's environmental assessment.

Who pays for the project?

Natural Forces and its partners, Wind4All Communities IV and Beaubassin Mi'kmaq Wind Limited Partnership, will pay the development and the capital cost of the Amherst Community Wind Farm. The energy produced by the wind farm will be sold by Natural Forces and its partners and bought by Nova Scotia Power at a fixed price for 20 years.

Why does Natural Forces look at studies from other provinces or countries for health and property value issues?

Unfortunately, Nova Scotia or a company within Nova Scotia has not undertaken studies to assess the direct health impact or property value variations. It is for this reason we look to other provinces and countries for credible peer-reviewed research.

The Municipality of Kings County undertook an expert review of the potential health and safety impacts from large-scale wind turbines. The expert authors reviewed available data from existing studies - it did not directly study the effects. The report can be seen by selecting the link below:

Health and Safety Impacts from Large-Scale Wind Turbines (P12-01) Final Report May 2012

A Canadian Health Study was conducted and can be viewed at the link below:

Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study

Where does the power go?

The Amherst Community Wind Farm will be connected to the distribution grid. The distribution grid includes the power lines you see running along the streets whereas the transmission grid includes the bigger power lines often found on top of the big metal structures. The difference is the distribution grid supplies power to local communities whereas the transmission lines move power across long distances.

Because the project connects to the distribution grid the power will flow to the substation and be delivered back to the local community.

What are the setbacks for this project?

After extensive public consultation and review period in 2010, Cumberland County developed bylaws for wind energy projects. The minimum separation distance between wind turbines and habitable building on a neighboring property is 600m. Currently, the Amherst Community Wind Farm follows and exceeds these bylaws by staying approximately 1000m from homes.   

Will there be more than 2 turbines at this location?

This question is answered in detail on the 'Why 2 Turbines?' page. The short form of the answer is below.

The Amherst Community Wind Farm is a 2 turbine wind farm with no plans for expansion. This project connects to the distribution electrical grid. The distribution grid can only support a limited amount of energy determined by the capacity at the substation. The 2 turbines will use all the capacity available at the substation at this time.

Will there be a new substation for this wind farm?

No, the project does not require a new substation. The wind turbines will be connected to the existing power line on John Black Road and will flow to the existing substation on Church St.

Are moose affected by the turbines?

The Isthmus of Chignecto - the land connecting Nova Scotia to New Brunswick- is known to be a corridor for moose migration. Because of this, Natural Forces has commissioned moose surveys. The results of these surveys are discussed in the Environmental Assessment.