$150-million power project near Merigomish will be province’s largest, with 30 turbines
Halifax wind power company Shear Wind Inc. is poised to build a $150-million wind turbine park east of New Glasgow.
The 30-turbine project on 2,420 hectares near Merigomish would be the largest in the province and would generate 60 megawatts of electricity to sell to Nova Scotia Power, a subsidiary of energy giant Emera Inc.
Details of the project, which would produce enough electricity to power 17,500 homes, are expected to be released this morning at the Lismore and District Community Hall.
“This project is not only a strong project for Shear Wind, it’s a great project for this community,” said company president Michael Magnus, a former executive vice-president of Clearwater Seafood Ltd. Partnership.
“From a Nova Scotia Power perspective, it’s very complementary to its transmission system because there are three major (power) lines going through our property here in Glen Dhu, which is absolutely unheard of in Canada.”
The site would also be home to Nova Scotia’s first “eco-interpretive centre,” providing information about wind energy, turbines, the area’s history and plans to build hiking and bicycle paths.
“We recognize the fact there is a lot of conflict in Canada, and in the world, for that matter, when it comes to wind parks,” Mr. Magnus said. “We find it’s incumbent upon us in our stewardship to educate people. So we are going to create an eco-interpretive centre to hopefully educate people on the value of renewable energy, specifically wind energy.”Shear Wind would be the fourth company to sign a long-term contract with Nova Scotia Power to provide renewable energy for the provincial grid.
NSP hopes the agreements will result in an increase in the amount of electricity produced in this province by so-called green technology to 20 per cent by 2013, up from 11 or 12 per cent today.
Mr. Magnus said the company would generate $350,000 annually in tax revenue for municipal coffers.
Shear Wind plans to purchase two-megawatt, 80-metre-high turbines from German manufacturer Enercon and have them in operation by late 2009. The turbines would be erected at least one to four kilometres from any homes in the area.
Shear Wind was founded in 2006 and has nine wind power projects in various stages of development in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with a total potential generation capacity in excess of 1,500 megawatts.
“We have an aggressive plan over the next 12 months,” said Mr. Magnus, who has recruited energy veterans to his management team, including former Emera CEO David Mann as chairman of the board, former Alberta energy minister Murray Smith and Ian Tillard, a mechanical engineer with 25 years’ experience, the past five in the wind energy business at Barrington Wind.
The former seafood executive has shifted his focus from harvesting the ocean to harvesting the wind. And he has big plans for his new project in Nova Scotia.
A second phase of the Glen Dhu wind park could generate an additional 170 megawatts of electricity for export, he said.
The company has already made an application in the U.S. requesting certification to export electricity into Massachusetts and Connecticut from Glen Dhu and its other project in New Brunswick.
“Those are the two big markets that you want to export into,” said Mr. Magnus.
“We will most likely use Emera Energy Services to manage the distribution of that power.”
Shear Wind is now generating electricity on two other sites at Fitzpatricks Mountain near Pictou for a total of 1.6 megawatts under a 15-year power purchase agreement.
Mr. Magnus believes the future of wind power is “great” but opportunities are shrinking with land restrictions, limited access to transmission lines and backlash from communities against wind power.
By Judy Myrden
2 April 2008
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