Hemmera has led the regulatory engagement with Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) and Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) and developed a Construction Mitigation Plan, Operational Mitigation Plan and Raptor Mitigation Plan for the Project. The development of these plans required Hemmera to create novel and cost-effective solutions to address previous environmental (i.e., bird and bat) non-compliances. This was achieved through partnerships with third party groups and creating clear, success-based plans that were agreeable to AEP and the AUC. Examples of these solutions included erection of raptor nesting platforms and the establishment of site-specific operational bat curtailment strategies based on acoustic data that satisfied regulators and avoided nighttime shut down of turbines. Hemmera also led consultation with the AUC regarding the enforcement of wildlife related non-compliances that occurred prior to Hemmera’s involvement in the Project. This experience provides Hemmera with a unique perspective into the AUC’s Compliance and Enforcement team’s position on non-compliance enforcement and preferences related to mitigation solutions.
Bear Mountain Wind Park is a 34 turbine, 102 MW wind energy facility located in northeastern British Columbia, owned by AltaGas. The Bear Mountain Wind Park began commercial operation in 2009. At that time, it was the first commercial project to deliver wind-powered electricity to the BC power grid.
Since 2005, Hemmera has been an integral contributor to the project. Hemmera managed the environmental assessment (EA) and application, coordinated the pre-construction studies, and implemented the many commitments associated with environmental approval. In support of the project’s provincial environmental review process, Hemmera compiled EA documentation and liaised with regulatory agencies, undertook technical studies, and carried out environmental, economic, social, and health assessments.
Hemmera also led the adaptive management strategy for birds and bats affected by the wind park’s operation. Our adaptive approach entailed providing biological data for improved decision-making, addressing uncertainty over mitigation requirements, and reducing the costs associated with mitigation.
The Bear Mountain turbines currently generate enough renewable electricity to power most homes in BC’s South Peace region.
An Environmental Assessment Application was completed and submitted to achieve federal and provincial approvals. Hemmera supported the client in obtaining the necessary construction permits within the project implementation timeframe, and completed construction monitoring to the satisfaction of Environmental Assessment Certificate commitments and regulatory requirements. Operations monitoring for the first two to three years of operation was designed and implemented by Hemmera.