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Wind power proposal in St. John’s

A Newfoundland and Labrador company wants to build a wind turbine near a busy St. John’s road to power a wholesale business and promote an alternative to hydroelectric power.

Labrador Coastal Equipment Limited has proposed a 225-kilowatt wind turbine on Kenmount Road near the wholesale business Blue Buoy Foods.

The company said the turbine would power Blue Buoy Foods with a source of clean, sustainable energy. It also expects wind power will significantly reduce energy bills at the business.

“They’re going to save $50,000 per year,” said Gerry Skinner, CEO of Labrador Coastal Equipment Limited. “In the first 25 years, their savings will be about 82 per cent.”

Skinner said the wholesale business now pays $150,000 per year in utility bills. He said he expects that cost will only rise if the company stays on the provincial grid as hydroelectric rates increase in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Labrador Coastal Equipment picked the high-traffic area because it’s hoping the public exposure will promote their wind energy business and attract more business.

Skinner initially proposed the project to the St. John’s City Council in April and said he expects a response soon.

Coun.Tom Hann said the city is considering the proposal but added that the project doesn’t meet regulations for small-scale wind turbine development in the city yet.

“The site on Kenmount Road doesn’t meet the requirements,” Hann told CBC News.

Hann said the turbine needs to be located 1.5 times its height from all property lines and public streets and three times its height from any occupied building.

Hann said the city is interested in using wind power and hopes to work with Labrador Coastal Equipment Limited to make the proposal work.

“We would like see some of the small scale turbines within the city limits because we want to see alternative sources of energy and I think wind turbines are another source we should be looking at down the road,” said Hann.

The wind turbine project is on the agenda for Monday night’s city council meeting.