Nova Scotia intends to achieve 80% renewable energy by 2030. To help reach this objective, the province has set up various renewable energy procurement opportunities, including the Rate Base Procurement Program (RBP).
Anticipating the Province’s need for renewables, Natural Forces, in partnership with the Wskijnu’k Mtmo’taqnuow Agency Ltd. (the Project Partners), began permitting the Benjamins Mill Wind Project, with the intention of building the proposed 150 MW Project in multiple phases.
Phase I of the Benjamin Mill Wind Project (the Project) was one of the successful submissions to the RBP. The Project Partners will develop, construct, operate, and own this project. Located on the ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq, the Project is forecasted to power approximately 13,000 Nova Scotian homes.
Working with Natural Forces since 2021, Ausenco’s specialists provided sustainability services to support the development of the Project. Our experts contributed to the Environmental Assessment (EA) by conducting the radar and acoustic monitoring program. The full proposed 150-megawatt project will eventually consist of approximately 28 wind turbines powering approximately 58,000 Nova Scotian homes.
Challenges and our solutions
As with any new development, wind turbines have the potential to impact wildlife. To reduce the risk of impact, innovative planning and mitigation measures are required.
To mitigate impacts on wildlife as the project developed, our team provided monitoring services, and surveyed migratory birds during the spring and fall seasons over a period of two years. Data was collected using marine radar powered by solar panels and located within approximately 635 m of the nearest proposed turbine. All radar and acoustic detections were plotted by our team to visualize the migratory patterns of birds in conjunction with wind direction and strength at the surface and aloft.
Outcomes and achievements
The Project Partners received EA approval from the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in February 2023, making this one of the first successful EA submissions for wind development in Nova Scotia since 2017. Our team was essential in obtaining this approval and progressing project development. Ausenco continues to be a trusted advisor to Natural Forces on various renewable energy projects across the Maritimes.