Gas – Facilities
Kiwetinohk Energy Corp. (“KEC”) applied for approval to construct and operate the 101.133-megawatt (“MW”) flexible gas-fired Opal Power Plant and associated Gemini 1008S Substation (the “Project”). The Project will be located on Crown land south of the town of Fox Creek. The Project will consist of nine 11.237-MW gas engines supplied by a dedicated pipeline to the site and include a control building and a 138-kilovolt high-voltage substation on the site’s east side.
The AUC approved the application for permission to construct and operate the Opal Power Plant and the Gemini 1008S Substation.
AUC Rule 012: Noise Control
Historical Resources Act, RSA 2000, c H-9.
Hydro and Electric Energy Act, RSA 2000, c H-16 – ss 11, 14, and 15.
Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, SC 1994, c 22.
KEC submitted that no provincially mapped wetlands are present within the Project site. A historical review of aerial photos between 2006 and 2017 did not reveal the presence of wetlands within the Project site and a field assessment by a professional agrologist confirmed there are no wetlands within or adjacent to the Project site. The closest wetland to the Project is approximately 75 meters east. KEC decided to proceed on the basis that there are no wetlands within the Project area based on a field assessment by a professional agrologist. The AUC accepted KEC’s rationalization for proceeding as if there are no wetlands within the Project area but expressed its expectation that KEC address and mitigate any environmental effects according to the environmental regulations in place at that time. The Environment and Climate Change Canada (“ECCC”) regional nesting calendar indicated that there should be a restricted activity period for the Project area. KEC implemented a restricted activity period that ends sooner than ECCC’s recommended period. The AUC did not consider KEC’s justification to only conduct nest sweeps from April 1 to August 1 adequate to reduce the risk that the Project contravenes the Migratory Birds Conventions Act.
The AUC, therefore, imposed as a condition of approval that if vegetation clearing is to occur from April 1 to August 25, a qualified wildlife biologist must conduct nest sweeps and provide clearance before construction can begin or continue.