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Province, NSP commit to expand wind power; Ecology Action Centre doubts project will be completed  

Nova Scotia Power Inc. and the province announced plans in Brookfield, Colchester Co., yesterday to ink contracts to bring wind energy to 60,000 homes by the end of 2009. But considering the history of “contract failure” under the current system, the Ecology Action Centre is urging the public not to count the wind turbines before they are built.

Ralph Tedesco, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Power Inc., said the company is negotiating contracts for 240 megawatts of energy – significantly higher than the 130 megawatts the government mandated it create.

“The reason that we’ve ended up offering for so much more, is that we were very impressed with the quality of the proposals, and the pricing will provide, as well, very good value for our customers,” he said in an interview.

The power company has selected six developers to build wind farms in Colchester, Digby, Cumberland, Pictou, Antigonish and Richmond counties, Tedesco said.

If the $500-million projects go ahead, they would more than quadruple the amount of wind energy produced in the province.

But Brendan Haley, energy co-ordinator for the Ecology Action Centre, says announcing the intention to create wind turbines is a far cry from actually producing clean energy to offset fossil fuels.

In response to yesterday’s announcement, the centre is hosting a tongue-in-cheek contest, asking the public to guess how many of the proposals will actually proceed.

Haley says the request-for-proposals system, which relies on competitive bidding to secure contracts, has only a 50 per cent success rate in North America.

“The way you win is you bid low, but sometimes you bid too low. And those projects, in a couple years’ time, no longer become economic, and the project doesn’t get built,” he said.

Fixed prices, Haley says, would give farmers, municipalities and co-operatives a chance to throw their hats in the ring.

But both Tedesco and Energy Minister Richard Hulburt said they stand by the request-for-proposals system.

“Competitive bidding contracts provides our customers with the very, very best value, and I feel confident that that remains the case with this particular solicitation,” Tedesco said.

Tedesco says based on the quality of the proposals, he is “very confident that the projects will go forward.”

By Rachel Mendleson

The Daily News

20 November 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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