Wind energy impact assessment valued components impacts and mitigations
Common valued components, impacts, and mitigation solutions identified from a sample if wind energy environmental impact statements in western Canada.
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The public IA registries in each jurisdiction were searched to identify completed assessments for wind energy projects. A total of 17 wind energy project IAs were identified post-2006: Alberta (n = 7), British Columbia (n = 6), Manitoba (n = 2), and Saskatchewan (n = 2). This sample captures only those wind energy projects subject to regulatory IA and included in the IA registries. Project IA reports typically include the project’s technical assessment, management plans, accompanying technical reports to support the IA, and regulatory approval conditions. A preliminary scan of the sample revealed that documentation for five of the projects were incomplete, containing the project description but no technical assessment report or management plans, thus 12 projects were selected for analysis (see Table A1). For each project, IA documents were examined to identify and classify the types of impacts and mitigations (e.g., by receptor, project size, proponent, geography). For each project IA, the following information were extracted and categorized: o Valued components: Impact statements in IA reports are typically presented by Valued Component (VC). All VCs were identified from the sample of projects and organized into common VC categories. Similar or related VCs (e.g., fish, fish habitat, riparian environment) were aggregated into a larger VC category (e.g., aquatic environments). o Impacts: All predicted impacts to VCs were identified and documented for the construction and operations phase of the project o Impact category: Impacts were categorized as biophysical (e.g., impacts to air, water, wildlife) or human (e.g., property values, health, well-being). o Mitigation action: Where applicable, the specific impact mitigation action was identified. Common impacts and mitigation were then identified and collated into Table A2 (biophysical) and A3 (human). “Common” means that the impact is found in 50% or more of project impact statements in which the VC is identified.