South Branch Wind Farm has an installed capacity of 30 megawatts (MW) — enough to power thousands of average Ontario homes with clean energy each year.
South Branch Wind Farm yields significant economic benefits to the community in the form of payments to landowners, local spending, and annual community investment.
South Branch represents a capital investment of approximately $51 million and has dispersed $219,000 in cumulative payments to local governments through 2017. The project created hundreds of full-time equivalent jobs during construction as well as five permanent jobs. Through 2017, approximately $3.9 million spent has been spent within 50 miles of the wind farm.
South Branch Wind Farm saves more than 46 million gallons of water each year and displaces carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants, a major contributor to climate change. Wind energy also enhances air quality by helping to mitigate the health effects of harmful air pollutants.
South Branch Wind Farm is compatible with other land uses and provides a stable form of income to local landowners. More than $1.3 million has been paid to the wind farm’s landowners through 2017. These supportive landowners participate in long-term lease and easement agreements that cover turbines, access roads, and transmission corridors.
Modern wind turbine generators are sophisticated, high-tech machines designed to capture the kinetic energy of the wind and convert it into electricity. A turbine’s blades capture the wind and rotate an internal shaft connected to a gearbox spinning a generator to produce electricity. Tubular steel towers support a hub with three attached blades and a nacelle, which houses the shaft, gearbox, generator, and controls. Wind measurements are collected to automatically rotate the turbine to face the strongest wind and angle, or “pitch,” its blades to optimize the energy captured. Electricity must be produced at just the right frequency and voltage to be compatible with the utility grid.
South Branch Wind Farm consists of 10 Siemens 3 MW wind turbines. The project is the first of its kind to install the Siemens SWT-3.0 – 113 direct-drive turbines. At 99.5 meters to the hub height and 3 MW, they are the largest turbines currently installed in Ontario in terms of height and capacity.