An HRM dump is one of the best places for future wind developments, according to a report written for the city.
The Otter Lake landfill was rated as a five-star site (out of five) for wind-turbine development in an April 2006 draft HRM Wind-Energy Generation Master Plan.
“The wind regime on the site is very good, according to the (wind-energy suitability model), and the south and western sections of the site are likely to be very suitable for wind-energy development, given high elevations,” reads the report.
“There are only minor concerns with respect to construction hazards (three patches of extreme slope) and proximity to a residential area (one small strip at the northern corner of the property),” it also says.
Completed by Jacques Whitford, the study gives an overview of HRM’s wind regime. It examines select municipal lands and rates their suitability for wind-turbine development. The study also examines some of the side effects of turbines and the regulations around them.
Other areas included are: Tomahawk watershed (5 out of 5), Lake Major watershed (4 out of 5), Pockwock watershed (4 out of 5), Sackville landfill (3 out of 5), western commons (3 out of 5) and the Mainland Common (1 out of 5).
Building in the Lake Major watershed, notes the report, could be tricky, because of the impact on the drinking water there.
“It is possible to design, construct and operate wind turbines that adhere to this level of protective restriction,” reads the report. Though there are possible sites highlighted in the report, the chance of new wind farms in HRM is low, said Stephen King, who heads the Sustainable Environment Management Office for the city.
Yesterday, the province announced it would fine Nova Scotia Power if it didn’t meet environmental targets.
King said the utility has 17 wind farms on its queue.
“You have to look at it practically. If there are 17 already on the grid, and people have gone through all the expense of doing the environmental assessments – and they already total almost 1,000 megawatts and the ceiling is going to be 400 – the chances of other big farms are probably slim,” said King.
Additionally, the wind regimes in other areas of the province are better, he said.
However, he said there are opportunities for smaller, single turbines that would let people in HRM generate their own power and possibly sell the excess to NSPI.
“The municipality wants to do everything it can to encourage renewable resources like wind energy. But we also want to make sure it’s not at the expense of residents and businesses, etc.,” said King.
Wind power is “absolutely clean,” he said, and the construction of farms around the province is an economic opportunity.
He added that other alternate energy forms are also important, such as biomass or geothermal power.
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