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Point Tupper gone with the wind  

POINT TUPPER – An independent power producer announced Tuesday it intends to build a $55-million wind farm here that could provide enough electricity to power up to 6,000 homes.

The project proposed by Renewable Energy Services Ltd. was selected through a request for proposals issued last year by Nova Scotia Power.
The project would see the development of a 22-megawatt wind farm under its power purchase agreement with NSP. RESL previously installed a turbine at the NuStar Energy/Statia Terminals site in Point Tupper in 2006 as part of a wind exploration program. Data indicated the area is optimal for wind energy production and distribution.

The 11 additional turbines that are to be constructed there – the German-made model Enercon E-82 – will be twice as large as the existing turbine and erected on 80-metre towers.

“It’s one of the most modern turbines, it’s been designed specifically for this site, based on the results of our current test turbine on the site,” RESL president Larry LeBlanc told a press conference.

LeBlanc noted the Point Tupper location is ideal from his company’s perspective, as it’s already zoned heavy industrial and is apart from residential areas. The nearest home in Point Tupper is about two kilometres away from the site.

“It’s an ideal generation site,” he said.

The project is in the midst of an environmental review. The assessment process will have to conclude favourably for the wind farm to proceed. If everything goes as planned, construction of roads and foundations for the turbines would begin next fall. The turbines would be delivered the following spring and installed over the summer of 2009, and go into operation in the fall.

Richmond Warden John Boudreau said he welcomes the employment that will come in the construction phase and the expansion of the municipality’s tax base, but most importantly the contribution the turbines will make to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He added there are other parts of the county which also show promise for wind development.

“This is the first in Richmond County, but I can assure you, it won’t be the last,” he said.

Municipalities across the province are trying to strike a balance between residents’ needs and accommodating wind development, Boudreau noted, with setbacks ranging from 450-750 metres, much less than will be the case in Point Tupper.

Rob Bennett, vice-president of revenue and sustainability with NSP, said the province has an excellent wind resource and the utility is committed to maximizing the amount of renewable energy produced in Nova Scotia. He added the RESL project is only the first of $500 million in wind developments that will be announced in the next two years.

“These contracts represent an investment in electricity production that is the largest investment in this province since the Point Aconi generating plant construction,” Bennett said.

Premier Rodney MacDonald noted Nova Scotia is one of the first provinces to set its environmental goals in legislation. The province is striving to have 20 per cent of its electricity produced from renewable energy sources by 2013, which would eliminate 750,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released and would involve a $1-billion investment in infrastructure.

RESL operates wind turbines in several other regions of the province. The company was founded in 2000.

There are currently 41 wind turbines located in Nova Scotia, producing 60 megawatts of power.

The financial terms of the deal between RESL and NSP are not being disclosed. Additional renewable energy projects – including wind power, biomass, biogas and tidal energy – are expected to be announced in the coming months.

By Nancy King

The Cape Breton Post

5 February 2008

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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