May 13, 2011
Nova Scotia

Wind farm proposed for Victoria County

By JOANN ALBERSTAT Business Reporter, The Chronicle Herald, 13 May 2011

A consortium of Nova Scotia and U.S. companies wants to build a $2- to $3.5-billion wind farm and transmission system in the Cape Breton Highlands.

Highland Power Co. Inc. of Sydney is proposing a 100- to 300- megawatt wind project in Victoria County with a transmission line to other parts of Nova Scotia and New England.

“It’s a very large project. We’d be looking at several years of development,” Jeff MacKinnon, a director of Highland Power, said Thursday.

The venture could be twice as large as any existing wind farm in the province. The biggest is Shear Wind Inc.’s Glen Dhu project in Antigonish County. Completed in March, it has 27 turbines generating 62 megawatts of electricity, enough energy to power 18,000 homes.

The Highland Power wind farm would be built on Highland Road, a forested area that is not residential and has been clear cut, MacKinnon said.

The consortium includes U.S. companies Starwood Energy Capital and Charles River Associates, Northern Innovations, a Nova Scotia holding company; the Eskasoni First Nation, RMSenergy Ltd., which owns the Dalhousie Mountain wind project; and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, which is opening a wind turbine plant in Trenton.

The consortium was incorporated in Nova Scotia on March 25. Its president is Peter Knollenberg, a West Palm Beach, Fla., businessman and shipwreck explorer. Sydney businessman Jim Kehoe is also a director, according to the provincial Registry of Joint Stock Companies.

Kehoe couldn’t be reached Thursday for comment.

MacKinnon, who says he was a fisherman and part of a treasure-hunting venture before getting into alternative energy, said the project is in the “very, very preliminary” stages. The earliest construction could start would be 2013 or 2014, he said.

“All I’m doing right now is laying out the groundwork to gauge the level of interest in a project like this,” he said in an interview from Sydney.

MacKinnon said consortium officials have met with the provincial Energy Department and Nova Scotia Power to talk about their plans.

He said the group will be making a proposal to the province when the government issues a call this spring for expressions of interest in developing a 130-megawatt wind farm.

In a letter last week to Victoria County council, Highland Power says the project’s first phase would generate 100 to 200 megawatts of electricity.

Bruce Morrison, warden of Victory County, said the municipality is interested in the project, which could create lots of jobs in the area.

“I’m certainly open in having those discussions and I know council is as well.”

Morrison said the wind farm site is almost 20 kilometres from Baddeck on a road that runs from the top of Hunters Mountain to Wreck Cove, where Nova Scotia Power has a generating station.

The warden said the municipality would have to develop a bylaw to allow the project. That process would involve public consultation, he said.

URL to article: