HALIFAX – The head of Shear Wind Inc. says he’s keen to build a large wind farm in northern New Brunswick, a project he says would boost the economy of Restigouche County.
“It’s an area that has a need for any form of economic development. Building a wind farm is certainly a huge contributor to reaching that goal,” said Mike Magnus, Shear Wind’s president and CEO.
On Monday, Shear Wind (TSX-V:SWX) announced that its 62-megawatt Glen Dhu wind farm is fully operational. Located east of New Glasgow, the $150-million Glen Dhu project is the company’s first wind farm and the largest in Nova Scotia. Producing electricity for Nova Scotia Power Inc. through a 20-year power purchase agreement, the Glen Dhu site is expected to generate enough electricity to power roughly 18,000 homes.
“It’s a major accomplishment for our company,” said Magnus, noting Shear Wind successfully developed the project through the economic downturn. “That’s a huge testament to the perseverance and the capability of our management team.”
Magnus says Shear Wind is already prepared to expand Glen Dhu, potentially doubling the wind farm’s output. According to Magnus, construction could start this fall, provided a request for proposals is issued for additional wind power in Nova Scotia.
“We’re ready to go,” he said. “We would like to go ahead as soon as possible.”
Magnus is also keen on constructing a 75MW to 100MW wind farm in New Brunswick’s Restigouche County. The proposed location, referred to as the Mann Siding site, is situated on Crown-leased land just outside the town of Saint-Quentin.
Again, all Magnus requires is a call for more wind-powered electricity. “We’re having some very, very positive discussions with different people within the New Brunswick government,” he said.
If developed, the Restigouche wind farm could cost up to $250 million and create 150 jobs during the construction phase. According to Magnus, discussions with people in the community reveal an appetite for such a project. “These wind farms are becoming tremendous ways for encouraging economic development in rural communities,” he said.
Currently, New Brunswick has 249MW of installed wind power output. That capacity is located on two wind farms: TransAlta’s Kent Hills site near Moncton (150MW), and the Caribou Wind Park near Bathurst (99MW), which is owned by GDF Suez S.A.
It’s unclear when, or if, New Brunswick will call for more wind-powered electricity. On Monday, energy department spokesman Jim Hennessy said the department is not aware of any current plans by NB Power to commission more wind power.
Shear Wind’s stated goal is to produce up to 500MW of wind-generated electricity within five years. The company is also pursuing wind power developments in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
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