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Big Thunder Wind Park 

Construction Plan Report


DRAFT

Prepared by: M.K. Ince and Associates Ltd.

May 18, 2010


Big Thunder Wind Park
DRAFT Construction Plan Report May 18, 2010

TABLE OF CONTENTS
BIG THUNDER WIND PARK ................................................................................................................................. 1 
1  PROJECT OVERVIEW ................................................................................................................................... 1 
1.1  PROJECT SCHEDULE ........................................................................................................................................... 2 
2  CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES ........................................................................................................................ 5 
2.1  SCOPE OF THE PROJECT ...................................................................................................................................... 5 
2.2  CONSTRUCTION PHASE ....................................................................................................................................... 5 
2.3  CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE .................................................................................................................................. 5 
2.4  CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES ................................................................................................................................. 6 
2.4.1  Surveying and Siting Operations .............................................................................................................. 6 
2.4.2  Land Clearing ........................................................................................................................................... 6 
2.4.3  Road Construction / Modification ............................................................................................................ 7 
2.4.4  Delivery of Equipment .............................................................................................................................. 7 
2.4.5  Foundation Construction ......................................................................................................................... 7 
2.4.6  Tower and Turbine Assembly and Installation ......................................................................................... 7 
2.4.7  Interconnection from Turbines to Substation .......................................................................................... 8 
2.4.8  Substation Construction ........................................................................................................................... 8 
2.4.9  Turbine Commissioning ............................................................................................................................ 8 
2.4.10  Site Rehabilitation ............................................................................................................................... 8 
2.5  CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT ............................................................................................................................... 8 
2.5.1  Resource Requirements ........................................................................................................................... 9 
2.6  MATERIAL USE AND DISPOSAL ........................................................................................................................... 10 
2.6.1  Materials brought on site ...................................................................................................................... 10 
2.6.2  Waste Disposal ...................................................................................................................................... 10 
3  ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF PROJECT CONSTRUCTION ......................................................................... 11 
3.1  STUDY AREA .................................................................................................................................................. 11 
3.2  POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES ........................................................................ 11 
3.2.1  Stormwater Runoff ................................................................................................................................ 11 
3.2.2  Dust and Noise Emissions ...................................................................................................................... 11 
3.2.3  Destruction of Vegetation and Habitat .................................................................................................. 12 
3.2.4  Impacts on Water Bodies ....................................................................................................................... 12 
3.2.5  Fuel Spills ............................................................................................................................................... 12 
3.2.6  Impacts on Archaeological Resources .................................................................................................... 12 
4  ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING ............................................................................................................... 14 
4.1  MANAGEMENT STRUCTURES ............................................................................................................................. 14 
4.2  ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS MONITORING PLAN ..................................................................................................... 14 
5  CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................................ 15 
6  QUALIFICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS ......................................................................................................... 16 

List of Figures
Figure 1-1 Big Thunder Wind Park Turbine Layout .................................................................................... 3 

Figure 1-2 Big Thunder Wind Park Electrical Tapline Routes ..................................................................... 4 

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List of Tables
Table 1-1 Coordinates for Wind Turbine Locations at the Big Thunder Wind Park .................................... 1 

Table 1-2 Project Schedule ........................................................................................................................... 2 

Table 2-1 Description of Construction, Operation, and Decommissioning Activities ................................. 5 

Table 2-2 Proposed Construction Schedule .................................................................................................. 6 

Table 2-3 Typical Construction Equipment Noise........................................................................................ 9 

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1 PROJECT OVERVIEW 
The Big Thunder Wind Park Construction Plan Report is prepared with reference to Item 1 of the
requirements outlined in Table 1 of the Ministry of Environment’s Renewable Energy Approvals
Regulation (O.Reg. 359/09). A detailed discussion of the construction activities planned for the Big
Thunder Wind Park, their potential environmental effects, and mitigation measures are included in this
report.

The proposed Big Thunder Wind Park is to be situated southwest of the City of Thunder Bay, on the
Nor’Wester Mountains within the Municipality of Neebing, Ontario. The project will consist of 18
turbines rated at 1.5 MW each, producing up to 27 MW of electricity in total. The wind turbines will be
erected for the purpose of capturing energy from the wind, a renewable resource, and converting it into
clean, useable electricity. This electricity will be transported to end-users via interconnection facilities,
including transformers and distribution lines.

The undertaking will include the construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of a wind
park and its associated infrastructure, including access roads, two collector substations and low-voltage
electrical taplines and poles. Transformers will be located at the base of each turbine to step-up the
voltage to match the voltage of local distribution feeder (25 kV). The two substations will act as collector
stations for the energy produced by the turbines; each substation will contain a metering system,
disconnection switch, SCADA system, and a transfer trip communication. The 18 turbines are located on
an area of elevated relief known as the Nor’Westers, immediately west of Loch Lomond. The wind
turbine locations are described in Table 1-1 and the wind park components are illustrated in Figure 1-1
and Figure 1-2 below.

Table 1-1 Coordinates for Wind Turbine Locations at the Big Thunder Wind Park
Latitude Longitude
Turbine Number
(Nad 83 UTM 16) (Nad 83 UTM 16)
1 323472 5348396
2 323672 5348796
3 323851 5349369
4 324172 5349596
5 324563 5349761
6 325172 5349596
7 324972 5349896
8 324772 5350296
9 325072 5350296
10 325372 5350296
11 325572 5350496
12 327043 5350872
13 326472 5350596

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14 326119 5350100
15 326472 5349796
16 326672 5349497
17 326273 5349195
18 326352 5348896

1.1 Project Schedule 
Table 1-2 indicates the anticipated project schedule for development of the Big Thunder Wind Park.

Table 1-2 Project Schedule


Activity Date
Start Wind Resource Assessment and Preliminary Engineering October 2008
Begin Federal and Provincial Environmental Screening February 2008
Transition to Renewable Energy Approval process September 2009
Submit Renewable Energy Approval Application July 2010
Start of Construction November 2010
Turbine commissioning July 2011

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Figure 1-1 Big Thunder Wind Park Turbine Layout

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Figure 1-2 Big Thunder Wind Park Electrical Tapline Routes

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2 CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES 

2.1 Scope of the Project 
The scope of the Big Thunder Wind Park project includes the construction, operation,
maintenance, and decommissioning of the turbines and associated infrastructure, including
temporary construction staging areas, electrical taplines, access roads, transformers, and
switching substations. Table 2-1 summarizes the key project activities.

Table 2-1 Description of Construction, Operation, and Decommissioning Activities


Phase Activity
• Surveying and siting
• Access road construction/modification
• Delivery of equipment
• Foundation construction
• Tower and turbine assembly and installation
Construction
• Interconnection from turbines to substations
• Substation construction
• Electrical tapline construction
• Turbine commissioning
• Site rehabilitation
• Turbine operation
Operation
• Wind Park maintenance
• Land clearing
• Road construction/modification
Decommissioning • Removal of turbines and ancillary equipment
• Removal of electrical taplines
• Site rehabilitation

2.2 Construction Phase 
The construction phase for the wind park is described in Section 2.4. Construction activities will
be on a per turbine basis. Construction activities will be initiated and completed at each turbine
location before beginning at the next. The project is currently scheduled to begin construction as
early as the fourth quarter of 2010.

2.3 Construction Schedule 
The high level construction schedule for the Big Thunder Wind Park is included in Table 2-2.
The final construction schedule will depend on dates approvals are obtained, equipment
availability and weather conditions.

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Table 2-2 Proposed Construction Schedule


Activity Date
Surveying and site preparation November 2010 – January 2010
Construction of access roads, clearing December 2010 – January 2011
Foundation construction April 2011 – May 2011
Turbine assembly June 2011 – July 2011
Substation and electrical tapline
January 2011 – May 2011
construction
Turbine commissioning July 2011

2.4 Construction Activities 

2.4.1 Surveying and Siting Operations 
A land survey of all turbine locations, interconnection routes and access roads will be completed
prior to construction by a registered Ontario Land Surveyor. A geotechnical survey involving
bore-hole samples and in situ testing will be undertaken prior to the design and construction of
the tower foundations.
A Stage I Archaeological Assessment of the project area was commissioned in May 2009 and
completed in July 2009 by AMICK Consultants Ltd. Results of this assessment indicated that
two archaeological sites relating directly to First Nations or Euro-Canadian habitation or activity
had been formally documented in the Archaeological Sites Database, administered by the Ontario
Ministry of Culture, within two kilometers of the study area. Both of these sites are outside the
project area, east of Loch Lomond. The Ministry of Culture determined that a site visit to the
subject property was not necessary for the Stage I study. The AMICK report on the Stage I
Archaeological Assessment has been forwarded to the Ontario Ministry of Culture for comment
and is included in Appendix F of the Environmental Screening Report submitted with the REA
Application. A Stage II study was recommended by AMICK for the project, with the exclusion
of areas of exposed bare rock, permanently wet areas, or steep slopes. A Stage II Archaeological
Assessment was recommended on the basis of the proximity of the site to water and the seasonal
resource exploitation and occupation pattern utilized by First Nations in the region. The Ministry
of Culture has stated that the Stage II Archaeological Assessment may be performed after the
REA Approval process but prior to project construction. The Ministry of Culture’s
correspondence on this topic is included in Appendix F of the Environmental Screening Report
submitted with the REA Reports.

2.4.2 Land Clearing 
As the Big Thunder Wind Park is located in a forested area, clearing will be required at each
turbine location, laydown areas, temporary staging areas, substation locations, and for the
construction of access roads and electrical taplines.

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A ‘pad’ area adjacent to each turbine location will be cleared, graded and constructed using
geotextile and aggregate material in order to support the weight of heavy machinery. This
activity will take approximately two months for all eighteen turbines.

Land clearing for the Big Thunder Wind Park will require the removal of trees, however no slash
will be burned on site. Areas to be cleared for each wind park component are shown on the Site
Plan included within the Design and Operations Report.

2.4.3 Road Construction / Modification 
Gravel surfaced roads will be constructed to allow access to each individual wind turbine site.
These roads will be designed and constructed to support the heavy machinery and trucks that
need to reach the turbine locations. The process of constructing roads will include the excavation
of topsoil and the possible use of a geotextile and/or aggregate material depending on local
geotechnical conditions. Roads will be kept to a minimum and have been located to minimize
environmental impacts as much as possible. This activity will take approximately two months for
all eighteen turbines.

2.4.4 Delivery of Equipment 
The wind turbines will be transported to the site in pieces (tower, blades, and nacelle), via truck,
and will be assembled on site. The blades, the nacelle, and the tower sections will be delivered
on oversized vehicles. Cranes, used to assemble the tower and turbine, will also be delivered by
truck and assembled on site.

2.4.5 Foundation Construction 
Topsoil will be removed and stockpiled prior to excavation for construction of the turbine
foundations. The amount of fill removed for the foundations will depend on the type of
foundation to be installed. Where possible, this excess fill will be used on-site for grading
operations.

Foundations will be constructed of poured concrete and reinforcing steel. Wooden forms will be
used in the construction process. A mounting ring for the turbine tower will be attached to the
foundation. This activity will take approximately three months for eighteen turbines. Each
foundations will be left to cure for a minimum of one month before tower erection, or
alternatively, quick curing foundation methods may be employed at some sites.

Foundation design, including the foundation type and dimensions, will depend on the results of
the geotechnical survey of the turbine locations.

2.4.6 Tower and Turbine Assembly and Installation 
The turbines will be erected using a large crane supported on the ‘pad’ area adjacent to each
turbine site. The wind turbine (tower, blades, and nacelle) will be assembled using the crane. This
activity will take approximately two months for eighteen turbines. Following construction the
crane pad will be allowed to undergo natural re-vegetation.

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The turbines will have a transformer installed adjacent to the turbine’s tower base. The
transformer will step up the voltage from 600 V to 25 kV to match the voltage of local
distribution lines. The size of the transformer (typically 1 m x 2 m) will be relatively
insignificant in relation to the base diameter of the tower (4 m). This activity will take
approximately four weeks for eighteen turbines and is highly dependent on the scheduling of
other construction activities.

2.4.7 Interconnection from Turbines to Substation 
The proposed wind park will be connected to the electrical distribution grid via overhead cables
and two switching substations located on the wind park site. The wind turbines include 25 kV
transformers at their base to step-up the voltage in the lines to match the voltage of the local
distribution system. The substations in the wind park will simply be collector stations for the
lines and an area used for metering, line communication, and controls.

2.4.8 Substation Construction 
The substation sites will be excavated to allow for the installation of gravel substrate and the
construction of a concrete foundation. The substation equipment will be grounded to a grounding
grid installed in the gravel. Substation equipment will be mounted on the concrete foundation
and connected to the adjacent outgoing distribution line. The substations will be fenced and
locked to prevent unauthorized access.

2.4.9 Turbine Commissioning 
Prior to start-up, a series of tests will be performed on the wind turbines to confirm system
suitability and compatibility with the electricity grid. Interconnection to the grid will be
undertaken as a final test. Physical adjustments may be carried out on the turbine at this point.
This activity will be scheduled, but will ultimately depend on weather conditions. This activity
will take approximately one month for eighteen turbines.

2.4.10 Site Rehabilitation 
Upon commissioning of the turbines, construction crews and equipment will be demobilized and
the construction areas rehabilitated. The disturbed portions of the site will be remediated and re-
vegetated. Topsoil stripped during construction will be re-applied. Natural regeneration will be
encouraged to achieve re-vegetation, and seeding or planting will occur in some areas,
particularly those prone to erosion. This activity will take approximately four weeks.

2.5 Construction Equipment 
Heavy construction equipment will be required during the construction of the Big Thunder Wind
Park. Types of construction equipment and potential noise emissions for each type are provided
in Table 2-3 below.

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Table 2-3 Typical Construction Equipment Noise


Equipment Type Typical Noise Levels at 50 Feet (dBA)
Air Compressor 81
Backhoe 85
Concrete Pump 82
Concrete Vibrator 76
Concrete Breaker 82
Dozer 80
Generator 78
Load 79
Paver 88
Water Pump 76
Trucks 88
Pile Drivers 101
(Source: Bolt, Beranek and Newman, 1971)

Not all equipment listed in Table 2-3 will be used at the Big Thunder Wind Park. All equipment
used will be operated during normal daytime business hours to minimize noise disturbance
impacts. Equipment requirements, including type, size and weight, will be discussed with the
construction contractor prior to construction of the Big Thunder Wind Park.

Chemicals used on-site during the construction of the Big Thunder Wind Park will include fuel
and concrete admixtures. All chemicals will be handled and stored appropriately as defined in the
Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan (EEMP) and Design and Operations Report. The Big
Thunder Wind Park EEMP and Design and Operations Report will also specify response
measures to be followed in the event of a hazardous materials spill.

2.5.1 Resource Requirements 
Required components of the wind park include the wind turbine generators themselves,
transformers, overhead electrical cabling and other interconnection equipment, concrete and other
materials for turbine foundations, and aggregate for use in access roads and site preparation. As
much as possible, all materials will be obtained locally from within the Thunder Bay District or
Ontario. Investigation for local suppliers is ongoing, and where comparable these will be
preferred for use.

Energy usage during the construction and decommissioning phases of the project will be
primarily in the form of gasoline and diesel for transportation and machinery operation. There
will be no unusual energy demands in the construction, commissioning and decommissioning of

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the wind turbines, and no significant energy demands during the operation of the project. The
only requirement for water will be for dust suppression during construction. This water will be
brought in from off-site.

2.6 Material Use and Disposal 

2.6.1 Materials brought on site 
The materials required for the construction of the Big Thunder Wind Park include, but are not
limited to, wood, concrete, steel, electrical cabling and poles, and road base. Materials will be
used in varying quantities for each of the construction stages described in Section 2.4. Materials
will be stored at each individual turbine site and if needed at the two staging areas within the
wind park.

Trucks will bring all materials to the project site. Oversized trucks will be used to transport
turbine structures and blades. The number of trips made by delivery vehicles will depend on the
final selection of transport companies and the capacity and availability of their vehicles.

Transport of materials will occur at various stages between November 2010 and July 2011.
Frequency of delivery will be dependent upon the construction staging listed in Table 1-2.

2.6.2 Waste Disposal 
No toxic or hazardous materials will be produced during the construction of the project. Oils and
other fluids that may be considered toxic or hazardous depending on quantities and handling are
required for use in turbine maintenance. Waste fluids will be removed from the project site and
recycled or disposed according to municipal and provincial waste management regulations. Non-
hazardous waste material will be handled by the municipal waste management system.

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3 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF PROJECT CONSTRUCTION 
3.1 Study Area 
As required under the Renewable Energy Approval regulation O.Reg. 359/09, environmental
impacts of construction activities have been evaluated within a 300 m radius of construction
works.

3.2 Potential Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures 
The potential negative environmental impacts arising from construction of the proposed Big
Thunder Wind Park are described in Sections 8.2.1 through 8.2.12 of the Environmental
Screening Report included with the REA Application reports. These sections of the
Environmental Screening Report also describe proposed mitigation measures to address these
environmental impacts, as well as an assessment of residual environmental effects after
mitigation measures have been applied.

Summaries of some of the main construction-related impacts considered in the Environmental


Screening Report are included in the Sections below.

3.2.1 Stormwater Runoff 
Stormwater patterns may change due to project construction. Land will be cleared and re-graded
at each turbine site to permit construction of individual turbines. Unpaved roads will also be
constructed to allow access to the project site and turbine locations.

Mitigation options for storm water runoff include the use of siltation fences and appropriate
setback distances from water bodies and natural heritage features. Siltation fences will be used
where excavation and re-grading operations pose a risk to surface waters. All turbine locations,
roads and staging areas will be more than 120 m from water bodies and natural heritage features.
There are several crossings of watercourses by proposed overhead electrical lines that for which
appropriate mitigation measures will be applied to reduce impacts on these water bodies. Please
see both the Environmental Screening Report and the Water Bodies Impact Assessment Report for
further details.

3.2.2 Dust and Noise Emissions 
Construction activities, including re-grading and excavation activities, will result in increased
dust and noise emissions.

Dust suppression, project scheduling, and limiting noise emissions from heavy equipment will be
used to mitigate the effects of dust and noise emissions. Construction activities will occur during
daytime hours to minimize disturbance to residences around the project location during quiet
hours. Please see the Environmental Screening Report for further details.

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3.2.3 Destruction of Vegetation and Habitat 
Construction activities will result in a small amount of land being cleared (approximately 2% of
the project area). Most land cleared will be for road construction and tapline corridors. Land will
be cleared at all turbine locations during construction to allow for turbine installation and
assembly.

Portions of the turbine assembly areas and reclaimed access road areas will undergo natural
regeneration upon completion of construction, and erosion-prone areas will be re-seeded or
replanted with native vegetation species. See Environmental Screening Report for further details.

3.2.4 Impacts on Water Bodies 
Impacts to water bodies are expected to be minimal as a result of project construction. Roads,
turbines, and substations are all located at distances greater than REA setback distances (120 m)
from water bodies as defined in the REA regulation. Crossings of watercourses by electrical
taplines will be necessary and, depending on which of the two optional routes in selected, may
cross between two and five watercourses.

Proposed electrical taplines for the Big Thunder Wind Park will be above ground, except where
crossings of the Kaministiquia River are proposed. Poles on which the electrical taplines are
mounted will be set back from riverbanks and shorelines by at least 30 meters. Construction
practices and mitigation measures associated with the electrical tapline crossings of these
watercourses are described in the Water Bodies Impact Assessment Report included with the REA
Application documents. Also please see the Water Assessment Report and the Environmental
Screening Report for further details.

3.2.5 Fuel Spills 
Construction vehicles and equipment will require fuel in the form of gasoline or diesel; as a
result, the potential for accidental spills exists.

The potential for contamination of surface and groundwater due to accidental spills will be
minimized by the implementation of the measures included in the Environmental Effects
Monitoring Plan (EEMP) and Design and Operations Report for fuel, oil, and lubricant handling
and storage. Storage and use of these materials during construction of the wind farm will comply
with all applicable provincial and federal regulations, codes, and guidelines. See the
Environmental Screening Report and the Design and Operations Report for further details.

3.2.6 Impacts on Archaeological Resources  
During construction of access roads, there is the potential of uncovering archaeological artifacts
of both Euro-Canadian and First Nation origins.

A Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment identifying areas of high potential has been completed for
the project area. A Stage 2 Archaeological Assessment of areas that will be impacted by the
construction of the wind farm will be carried out prior to construction, as per guidance received
from the Ministry of Culture. During excavation operations, if any deeply buried archaeological

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remains are found, the Ministry of Culture will be notified immediately. In the event that human
remains are uncovered, the Ministry of Culture and the Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the
Cemeteries Regulation Unit of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations will be
contacted. See Environmental Screening Report for further details, including the Stage 1
Archaeological Assessment Report in Appendix G of the Environmental Screening Report.

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4 ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING 
All construction, operation, and decommissioning activities will be guided by plans or programs
designed by Horizon Wind Inc. and their contractors. These programs will ensure that the
environmental concerns and mitigation measures discussed in the Renewable Energy Approval
Application are addressed and implemented in the field and that the effectiveness of the
environmental impact assessment is optimized.

4.1 Management Structures 
Horizon Wind Inc. will ensure that all construction personnel, contractors and sub-contractors are
appropriately skilled and qualified to comply with the environmental responsibilities stipulated in
the reports associated with the Renewable Energy Approval Application.

Horizon Wind Inc. is committed to developing and operating the proposed wind park in an
environmentally responsible manner and in compliance with all relevant municipal, provincial
and federal laws. All organizations involved in the construction of the Big Thunder Wind Park
will respect the monitoring programs described in the Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan
included with the REA Application, and will have in place a reporting system that assigns
responsibility and accountability for these actions. All contracts between Horizon Wind Inc. and
its contractors and sub-contractors will explicitly incorporate provisions specified in the REA
Application reports.

4.2 Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan  
An Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan (EEMP) has been developed for this project, outlining
procedures based on regulations and good construction practices for waste management, health
and safety, emergency response and training. The EEMP includes provisions for the reuse,
recycling, and disposal of all hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. It specifies provisions for
protecting the public from construction hazards, the proper use of safety equipment, and accident
reporting. It includes an emergency response plan for accidental spills, fires, evacuations and
medical emergencies. The EEMP is included within the Design and Operations Report included
with the REA Application.

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5 CONCLUSION 
Construction of the proposed Big Thunder Wind Park will be carried out so as to minimize
negative impacts on the environment. This Construction Plan Report, along with Sections 8.2.1
through 8.2.12 of the Environmental Screening Report included with the REA Application,
identify the potential environmental impacts resulting from construction of the wind park, and
propose mitigation measures to reduce these impacts.

Impacts resulting from construction of overhead and underground crossings of watercourses by


electrical lines are discussed in the Water Bodies Impact Assessment Report, where appropriate
mitigation measures to reduce these impacts are also presented.

Environmental monitoring plans have been developed and are discussed in the Environmental
Effects Monitoring Plan included within the Design and Operations Report document submitted
with the REA Application.

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6 QUALIFICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS 
M.K. Ince and Associates Ltd. has prepared this report in accordance with information provided
by its Client. The information and analysis contained herein is for the sole benefit of the Client
and may not be relied upon by any other person.

The contents of this report are based upon our understanding of information and reports prepared
by others, including Horizon Wind Inc. and their consultants. While we may have referred to and
made use of this information and reporting, we assume no liability for the accuracy of this
information.

MKI’s assessment was made in accordance with guidelines, regulations and procedures believed
to be current at this time. Changes in guidelines, regulations and enforcement policies can occur
at any time and such changes could affect the conclusions and recommendations of this report.

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