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NSP close to signing wind power deals; Negotiations with developers taking longer than expected

Nova Scotia Power hopes to wrap up negotiations and sign contracts with six wind developers for eight projects within a few weeks, despite missing its own deadline last month, according to the privately-owned utility.

NSP’s deadline for signing contracts with the successful bidders was on Dec. 28, but this does not mean the company is behind schedule, or that talks aren’t proceeding well, said NSP spokeswoman Glennie Langille.

“Detailing will be in a couple of weeks,” said Ms. Langille, adding the power company will not reveal the short list of bidders.

She said for a couple of the developers who are publicly traded, once they sign with NSP, they would have to make it public immediately, but the utility will not be disclosing those details.

There’s a lot at stake for the utility and the companies.

In late November, NSP president Ralph Tedesco said the utility was getting closer to making deals on green energy and expects to add 240 megawatts of new electricity generated by wind that would require $500 million in capital spending.

In March 2007 the utility issued a request for proposals for new renewable energy projects with a submission deadline of August.

Nova Scotia-based Renewable Energy Services Ltd., which already operates a number of wind turbines across the province, confirmed it is one of the successful bidders and is currently in negotiations with NSP.

Allison Leil, vice-president of the privately owned firm, said he could not make any comment about the negotiations but expects to have more to say later this week.

Halifax-based Shear Wind Inc. has indicated to securities regulators and investors it has submitted a proposal to NSP to produce up to 108 megawatts of wind generated electricity.

If successful, Shear Wind intends to construct a wind generating facility in 2008 and 2009, and start up the plant in 2009.

The site to be developed is called Glen Dhu, located on 2,420 hectares east of New Glasgow, but only part of the land would be used.

In a filing Dec. 19 with regulators, Shear Wind indicated the site has “above average” wind resources and the wind farm in the first phase could generate up to 108 megawatts of electricity.

Also, Shear Wind indicates in the documents the outcome of the bids should be known shortly and a final agreement in place in early 2008.

Shear Wind is currently generating 1.6 megawatts with two wind turbines on Fitzpatricks Mountain, just outside Scotsburn, Pictou County, under a 15-year power purchase agreement with NSP. The company has other sites in various stages of development in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

NSP hopes the contracts with the private companies will increase the amount of electricity produced by so-called green technology in this province to 20 per cent of total output by 2013.

Ottawa-based 3G Energy Corp. is proposing to build 66 turbines along a seven-kilometre stretch of the Cobequid Mountains. The company had previously indicated it submitted a proposal last summer to sell wind generated electricity to the utility.

Charles Demond, whose Atlantic Wind Power Corp. is behind a proposal in Pugwash and operates a 17-turbine farm in Lower West Pubnico, declined to comment Monday on any of his company’s proposals. However, it is believed the proposed Pugwash wind farm was one of the proposals submitted last summer to the utility.

Cape Breton Power confirms it submitted a proposal to expand its operations but it was turned down and the company is no longer in the running for an NSP contract.

The Cape Breton firm has seven wind turbines installed at its Lingan site near the NSP power plant and generates 17.4 megawatts, according to the company’s website.

The company also has two other wind turbines, one at New Aberdeen on former coal mining lands and one in Port Caledonia near Glace Bay.

By Judy Myrden
Business Reporter

The Chronicle Herald

8 January 2008