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Renewable energy bid still on track: NSPI

A cancelled wind-power project from last week will not affect Nova Scotia Power Inc.’s newest plan, the utility said yesterday. NSPI wants to hook up another 40,000 homes with renewable energy and is calling for bidders.

The company is confident it will meet renewable-energy targets, despite previously missing its own targets and attacking the province’s as being unrealistic.

On Friday, a major wind-energy project in Amherst was put on ice, largely because Ottawa withdrew its wind-power incentive program.

“Certainly, incentives tend to be very helpful to developers, but we’re also saying we do not believe it will be necessary in this particular (case). We’d welcome it, but we do not think it is necessary,” NSPI president and CEO Ralph Tedesco told a news conference yesterday.

The power company wants to add 130 megawatts of energy by the end of 2009, and will ask independent power generators for bids in early 2007.

NSPI has said five per cent of its energy will come from renewable sources, including wind power, by 2011.

Tedesco said yesterday he now thinks they can get to 10 per cent.

The Nova Scotia government wants the utility to be at 20 per cent by 2013.

NSPI has erected 12 turbines in the past two months and expects to have 41 in place by year’s end.

Renewable energy sources can also include landfill gas or biomass, such as the power that comes from Comeau Lumber Ltd. in Meteghan, Digby Co.

That company uses wood residue and waste that comes from sawmilling, such as bark, sawdust and shavings, to fuel what is essentially an oversized furnace.

NSPI is also looking at using more tidal power.

Vector Wind Energy, which operates six turbines in Nova Scotia, welcomed yesterday’s announcement.

“It’s certainly a good step forward,” said construction manager Paul Pynn. “We are looking forward to bidding on it, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Brendan Haley, energy co-ordinator for the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, questioned NSPI’s track record.

“What we really need is some accountability. If Nova Scotia Power does not meet its targets, it should face stiff penalties.”

By Andrea MacDonald