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Public hearing on windmill by-law  

Credit:  Jonathan Riley, The Digby County Courier, www.digbycourier.ca 16 June 2011 ~~

The municipality of Digby wants to know what people think about proposed changes to their windmill by-law.

“People have the right to come in and say ‘we don’t like this’ or ‘this is the best thing since green cheese,’ says Linda Gregory, warden of the municipality of the district of Digby. “Everyone is welcome and they can just show up Monday night.”

The municipality is looking at adding a new class of wind turbine to their regulations. The present by-law defines only “domestic scale” and “utility scale” and the municipality wants to add “community scale”.

The amendment comes in response to a new program offered under the provincial government’s renewable electricity plan – a plan conceived to help the province reach its goal of generating 25 per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity through renewable sources by 2015.

The province has established a community-based feed-in tariff (COMFIT) to encourage the generation of electricity from low-impact renewable sources, such as wind, biomass, tidal and hydro. Only municipalities, First Nations, co-operatives or community economic development corporations qualify for the COMFIT.

The Utilities and Review Board wants to establish COMFIT rates for two classes of generators: devices of 50 kW or less; and devices of more than 50 kW.

The new energy plan also allows for net metering, which means electricity producers can sell any extra electricity they don’t use themselves.

The municipality’s current windmill by-law requires the electricity produced by windmills producing less than 100kw to be consumed “on site”, meaning the producers couldn’t sell any extra electricity and therefore they couldn’t participate in the COMFIT program.

Scotian Windfields approached the municipality asking if it would consider adding the new class of turbine to enable such developments to happen in the district of Digby.

Interested parties can pick up copies of the current municipal planning strategy and land-use by-law and the proposed amendments at the municipal office at 12548 Highway 217 in Seabrook.

All our welcome to attend and present their opinions at the public hearing in the council chambers of the municipal office on June 27 at 6 p.m.

Gregory says only about 15 people showed up to the first public hearing concerning these changes about a month ago.

“I thought it was an excellent meeting about two hours long. If people are happy after this next meeting, then good. We will proceed to change the by-law. But if people come to this one and there are a lot of problems then I imagine council will stop and look at this again. We want to hear what the people have to say.”

Source:  Jonathan Riley, The Digby County Courier, www.digbycourier.ca 16 June 2011

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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