Henvey Inlet First Nation 300 MW Wind Project
Henvey Inlet First Nation (HIFN), a community with 200 on-reserve residents located some 90 kilometres south of Sudbury, sought to build a wind farm that would turn strong gusts into clean energy. Their vision was to own and operate a facility that would support the Band’s future development by providing emission-free electricity and sustainable revenues from the sale of power to the province. However, the HIFN community still needed to be convinced that the development would not come at the expense of the biodiversity and traditional sites located within their Reserve.
OUR EXPERTS’ SOLUTIONS
BBA’s engineers were tasked with designing and commissioning a facility that would meet all safety criteria while remaining cost-effective and environmentally responsible, two essential project targets
Our experts faced many challenges: high ground resistivity, restricted or no access areas, wildlife, record snowfall and an iterative overnight design process.
BBA’s rigorous approach to electrical design, project management and commissioning contributed directly to the project’s timely delivery. BBA had to plan site work in advance and tailor its designs to ensure minimal disturbance of sensitive areas. More specifically, we made a tremendous effort to minimize the width of cable trenches and ensure that wind turbine grounding grids would not encroach on environmentally restricted areas.
As expected, many geographical issues—such as the presence of large boulders and a high water table—became evident during the trench-blasting and cable-laying phase. So, our team was forced to produce new construction designs in fewer than 24 hours to prevent costly delays and ensure phase completion. We later performed the commissioning in the winter, despite harsh climate conditions, to keep the project on schedule.
Iterations were also needed to design the grounding grids for the two substations and 87 wind turbines. While granite bedrock is an excellent material for anchoring wind turbines, it is a poor electrical conductor and therefore complicates the grounding of structures.
The result: the largest single-phase wind project in Ontario, as well as the largest First Nation wind partnership project in Canada. The wind farm is composed of two separate facilities, one on each side of an inlet that stretches from Lake Huron into Henvey Inlet Reserve No. 2.
IN THE WORDS OF OUR CLIENT…
“Now that construction is complete, we can begin to look forward to economic independence as a community. Our youth will see an even brighter future from expanding health and education services along with increased infrastructure.”
Greg Newton, CEO of Nigig Power Corporation
- 300 MW of wind energy
- 110 km of 34.5 kV buried collectors
- Two 230 kV substations
- 87 wind turbines
- 20,000-hectare site
- 173 unique trench segments with 25 cable crossings