As New Brunswick expands its alternative-energy base, Miramichi may soon be home to a wind turbine.
City economic development officer Jeff MacTavish says he cannot release details at the moment, but he did confirm a major international alternative-energy company is looking to set up in the city.
“They’re very serious,” MacTavish said. “They’re a very big player in wind energy in the world, let’s say. We’ve checked the reputation, we know they’re a very reputable company and the city was confident enough to try and bring this initiative to the Miramichi.”
The city signed an agreement with the company in February. The company plans to build a station this summer near the area where its hopes to build the turbine so that it can monitor the area’s wind currents.
MacTavish said this “wind audit,” which will last until next spring, was an essential step in the process.
“They have some initial research, and they know the wind volume is there,” he said. “But they have to know what height the towers need to be, what the length of the blades need to be, what size turbines will give them the most bang for their buck.
The company is also apparently “building towards” signing an agreement with the provincial government.
MacTavish declined to say where the company was hoping to begin construction, but said they were talking to private land owners, as well as the city.
He acknowledged the project would create only a handful of jobs centred around monitoring and maintenance, but emphasized the new investment and infrastructure would be still be valuable.
“[At the site the company has in mind], 50 per cent would be located within the city of Miramichi boundaries,” said MacTavish. “So that means 50 per cent of total investment would go into the city’s tax base, and it’s relatively clean.”
Mayor Gerry Cormier said he has not yet been briefed on the project, but was supportive of the idea of wind power on the Miramichi.
“I think its a good idea,” he said. “I’d like to have more detail on it before I can comment, but I think it’s a good idea.”
By Daniel Martins
18 June 2008
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