Wind farm developers will get a chance early next year to apply to get their large-scale projects off the ground.
An Energy Department spokeswoman said Wednesday a call for bids from independent producers is expected in the first part of 2012 to develop the next round of large renewable energy electricity projects in the province
“The expectation is that it will be mostly wind,” Nancy Watson said in an interview.
She said there’s nothing stopping applications for other types of green energy projects.
The department announced Monday that it has chosen an independent renewable electricity administrator to oversee the bid process and make recommendations to the department.
Power Advisory LLC, based in Carlisle, Mass., will help draft the call for bids and power purchase agreement. The consultant, which also has an office in Toronto, will also hold consultations in the fall on the bid process.
Watson said department officials had their first meeting with the consultant by teleconference on Tuesday.
Independent producers will be bidding for a share of the 300 gigawatt hours per year of electricity that the province wants to buy from them. That’s equal to 100 megawatts of wind power. Nova Scotia Power, the province’s privately owned electric utility, will develop an equal amount of renewable electricity under the province’s renewable energy plan.
The strategy calls for 25 per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2015 and 40 per cent by 2020.
Several wind farm developers have unveiled proposals for large projects, including ones in Jeddore, Weymouth, Parrsboro and Cape Breton, in anticipation of the call for bids.
Some developers have said they expected proposals to be sought this summer.
Dan Roscoe, chief operating officer of Scotian WindFields Inc., said he doesn’t think the industry will have any problems with the bid call being early next year.
“It’s something that we think is a good step,” he said of having the administrator in place.
“Essentially what would happen before is that the procurement process was being overseen by Nova Scotia Power and they were also a generator. I wouldn’t go so far to say that they actually have a conflict of interest but it certainly creates the perception.”
Roscoe’s company works on smaller, community-based wind projects, swhich will be able to supply 100 megawatts of electricity through the province’s new community feed-in tariff program.
The idea of having an administrator involved in large-scale projects was one of 25 recommendations made to the Dexter government last year in a report by Dalhousie University professors David Wheeler and Michelle Adams.
The Energy Department said Power Advisory’s work is expected to take nine months but the contract is for one year, with an option to renew.
The company will be paid an hourly rate of $255, plus legal fees.
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