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Proposed wind farm rules OK, developer says

Nova Scotia’s first wind farm developer is a fan of the Tories’ proposed legislation on wind turbine taxation.

“Wind energy has a lot of potential in Nova Scotia,” Charles Demond, president of Pubnico Point Wind Farm Inc., said Monday at Province House.

“The bill provides certainty for wind developers and, in our view, a very healthy, . . . very attractive stream of revenue in the municipalities where they are developing . . . wind power.”

He said his 30.6-megawatt operation was facing a $450,000 tax bill before this legislation. It had launched an appeal and, if successful, the bill would have been reduced to around $75,000.

Mr. Demond said the rate set in the proposed legislation is fair to wind farm operators and the municipalities where they are located. He said his new bill would be about $200,000.

Service Nova Scotia Minister Jamie Muir, who tabled the bill Monday, said it was a compromise reached by the province, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and wind-power producers.

“Everybody recognizes that alternative sources of energy are a necessity in our province,” he said. “Quite frankly, we all gave a little bit.”

Under the proposed legislation, all wind farms will pay a standard rate. It will be based on the assessment of land and buildings, multiplied by the tax rate.

Those who are already operating will pay an additional $4,500 per megawatt a year. The province will pay municipalities another $1,000 per megawatt, a subsidy estimated at $100,000 annually.

New wind farms will have to pay $5,500 per megawatt.

The bill would not cover wind turbines under 100 kilowatts.

Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities president Russell Walker said municipalities are forgoing about 40 per cent of the taxes they might have gotten from the wind farms.

“It’s a plus because it’s a step forward in getting green energy in this province,” he said. “It’s less pollution in the air and it’s better for everybody in Nova Scotia.”

A 2005 study by the Canadian Wind Energy Association showed the average property taxes for a 20-megawatt wind project in Nova Scotia were $679,810, compared with $42,785 in Ontario.

Staff for Service Nova Scotia said Monday the current taxation of a 20-megawatt facility would be $680,000 a year, while the proposed legislation would mean a 30-megawatt facility would pay $200,000 a year.

By Amy Smith, Provincial Reporter
(asmith@herald.ca)

thechronicleherald.ca