UPPER VAUGHAN – A large wind energy project is being proposed on land that straddles Hants and Lunenburg counties.
Minas Basin Pulp and Power Co. Ltd. and Ventus Energy Inc. are proposing what could be the largest wind energy project in Nova Scotia, with the potential for 55 wind turbines.
The wind farm, which could eventually produce up to 100 megawatts, or enough electricity to power 35,000 homes a year, would be built on a 5,600-hectare parcel of forest land at the Hants and Lunenburg county line south of Upper Vaughan.
“This has been in the works for about four years now,” Terry Gerhardt, vice-president of operations with Minas Basin Pulp and Power, said in an interview Tuesday.
It’s been known for a while that the company and Ventus Energy of Ontario have been studying the area and planning a wind farm there. But what wasn’t known was the size of the proposed project.
Earlier word had it pegged at about an eight-megawatt venture, with power to be sold to Halifax Regional Municipality.
But a joint notice advising the public of an information meeting to be held in Upper Vaughan tonight describes the project as potentially having 55 wind turbines, each 140 metres tall. The information meeting, which will include representatives from Minas Basin Pulp and Power and Ventus Energy, will be held at the Upper Vaughan Community Hall and is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Mr. Gerhardt said Minas Basin Pulp and Power, a branch of Scotia Investments Ltd., will provide the land for the wind farm, while Ventus energy will install the turbines and develop the project.
Carolyn Marrack, spokeswoman for Ventus Energy, could not be reached for comment. She was expected to participate in a presentation to West Hants council Tuesday night and attend the public meeting tonight.
Mr. Gerhardt said the company hopes to begin installing the turbines this spring and producing energy by the fall of 2009.
Called the South Canoe Wind Park, the area where the turbines would be installed is one of the highest regions in mainland Nova Scotia and has been identified as Class 2 wind-generating potential.
Mr. Gerhardt said about 15 per cent of the wind farm would be located in the Municipality of West Hants, but most of it would be in the District of Chester, Lunenburg County.
The lands are now used for logging and the closest residences would be about six kilometres away. The closest body of water would be Zwicker Lake.
Minas Basin Power also has a hydroelectric facility in the area, not far from St. Croix.
The company has been doing studies on wildlife, vegetation, bird counts and other environmental factors. The firms have hired M. K. Ince Associates Ltd. of Ontario to carry out a full environmental impact assessment.
The project would have to meet provincial and federal regulations before being approved, which it has not yet done.
Mr. Gerhardt said the likely size of the project is probably in the 40- to 60-turbine range, still making it the largest in the province. He said he has been fielding several concerns and questions. Invitations were sent out for tonight’s meeting to environmental groups, wildlife associations, residents and cottage owners.
Ventus Energy, based in Toronto, was recently purchased by Suez Energy North America Inc. of Houston, a subsidiary of France’s Suez SA.
The sale price was reportedly $124 million.
By Gordon Delaney
12 September 2007