Radar detection of birds for wind project environmental assessment
Saskatchewan has some of the best wind potential in Canada. In 2017, the Environmental Services team in our Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, office prepared an environmental impact assessment on behalf of Algonquin Power Co. for a large wind project in the province’s southwest.
A key issue for any wind project is the potential for bird mortality. As a result, a key focus of environmental assessments is to reduce this effect through optimized engineering design, siting, and operations. Our wildlife biologists conducted field studies using specialized radar equipment to analyze bird movements in the vicinity of the project during spring and fall migration.
The collected data assisted in siting turbines outside potentially environmentally sensitive areas important to birds. We correlated observed data with the location and height of turbine towers and the areas circled by their blades. This information was used to better understand mortality risk for birds relative to the site and identify site-specific mitigation measures, including altering turbine locations.
With this knowledge, wind projects can move ahead with greater confidence, addressing environmental concerns while contributing to our new energy future. The Blue Hill Wind project was approved by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment in fall of 2018.
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