What measures exist to protect the scenery in wind power development areas?
Any conscientious developer takes scenery into account when planning a wind farm. Developers understand that communities are protective of their natural surroundings, and ensuring the visual integrity of sites simply makes sense.
In Quebec, municipal authorities have also taken action to protect the scenery. More than 20 regional county municipalities (“MRC”) have regulations incorporated or voted into their development plans to control and dictate how wind turbines can be implemented in their respective territories. These regulations are known as Règlements de contrôle intérimaire, “interim control regulations” (“RCI”). Developers are careful to respect these regulations, which vary from one region to another in order to accommodate and protect the scenery, nature parks and natural environments specific to each area.
Individual municipalities must conform to the RCIs adopted in their region, but may also vote more stringent measures or ban wind farms altogether. Some regions, such as Kamouraska, Brome-Missisisquoi and Memphémagog, have adopted more constraining RCIs that exclude large zones from being developed as wind farms.
An assessment of the visual impact of a wind farm project on its surrounding area is also required as part of the public consultations carried out by the Bureau des audiences publiques sur l’environnement (“BAPE”).