The new year brings a final push by Sprott Power Corp. to finish construction of its $61-million wind project near Amherst.
The first three turbines were erected last month, with work on the remaining 12 resuming this week.
“We’ll probably be doing one or two (turbines) per week from now on in,” Jeff Jenner, president and chief executive officer, said Tuesday from Toronto.
He said the lower sections of all 15 turbines have already been installed. For the towers that still have to be completed, the top portions will be assembled on the ground and hoisted into place with a giant crane.
“You need a relatively calm day to install the blades,” Jenner said
“You effectively fly up the blades and the hub all in one piece. If it’s windy, those blades will catch the wind and make it very difficult.”
Each structure is 25 storeys high and has a blade diameter of 97 metres, giving them a span that’s almost a football field in length.
Jenner said 87 people were working at the site, located near the New Brunswick border, in late November and early December before a holiday break.
He said the project is on track to be producing electricity by March 31.
The wind farm will have a capacity of 31.5 megawatts, enough to power 10,000 homes annually.
Meanwhile, Sprott hopes to begin site clearing for its 40-megawatt project near Hampton Mountain in the Annapolis Valley in the next couple of months.
Jenner said Annapolis County has adopted a wind bylaw, which requires provincial approval before the company can begin construction.
The wind developer, which had proposed 12 turbines, ended up with approval for 11 structures.
As a result, the project will likely cost less than the original $60-million estimate, Jenner said.
“It really depends on the turbine we select and we haven’t selected that yet.”
He said the company is still working to address concerns at 14 Wing Greenwood that rotating turbines could interfere with military radar.
The base is 40 kilometres from the proposed wind farm.
“We hired our own radar specialist and believe that there are solutions for that,” Jenner said.
A base official said Tuesday he doesn’t know what steps the wind developer is considering.
“If Sprott is having any conversations with anyone, it is not with 14 Wing Greenwood,” Maj. Al Harvey said. “It may be at another level.”
The military’s technical authorities on radar are based in Trenton, Ont., and Ottawa, he said.
Jenner has said that Sprott doesn’t plan to relocate towers but possible solutions could include adjusting radar angle or having a plan in place to halt turbines in case of an emergency.
The military’s concern involves radar coverage for an emergency runway, the Sprott CEO has said.
Sprott has also proposed three smaller wind projects under the province’s Community Feed-in Tariff program. Jenner said the projects, which would be in various parts of the province near the company’s existing developments, would include a total of seven turbines and produce 11 megawatts of electricity.
He said the company will also be seeking approval for additional large-scale projects, which will be selected next spring by the province’s renewable electricity administrator.
Jenner refused to give details Tuesday, saying the deadline for making submissions isn’t until March.
Sprott’s website says expansion plans include adding to the company’s Glace Bay project.
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