BRIDGEWATER – Sailors don’t have a hard time finding a stiff breeze off Nova Scotia’s South Shore, but that’s not quite the case inland.
“Wind on the South Shore tends to be focused along the coast. Where I’d really like to build a wind turbine is Gaff Point,” joked entrepreneur Keith Towse.
The CEO of Community Wind Farms was referring to a popular Lunenburg County hiking spot that winds its way along a protected coastline and through protected wilderness.
Environmental concerns and residential development have pushed his company ashore and it is now waiting on the province to approve its application to build two wind turbines just outside Bridgewater.
The company would also like to build on a second site in Queens County and is in negotiations with a landowner at the undisclosed site. It was also looking at third site south of Bridgewater, but couldn’t find a spot with easy access to a generator and a reasonable setback from homes. His company requires at least 700 metres between a home and a turbine.
Towse appeared before District of Lunenburg councillors recently to explain his company’s plans. He said the district was welcome to partner with his company, but the municipality said it is looking at a variety of options, including building its own turbine.
“We need to consider all these options and decide what role we want to take,” said the district’s CAO Tammy Wilson. “We will be considering possibilities for alternate forms of power on our own properties to power our own facilities,” including building a turbine.
In addition to the Bridgewater area, Community Wind Farms has proposed several developments across the province that would produce from four to eight megawatts of power.
The Bridgewater-area site is on Mullock Road in Whynotts Settlement, just opposite the Lunenburg Regional Community Recycling Centre. Other proposed sites are just outside Truro, close to Halifax and near Amherst.
At the Whynotts Settlement site, “We’re looking at developing two wind turbines generating four megawatts of power,” Towse said.
Turbines are typically 140 metres tall.
He has an agreement to lease the land from the owner and has confirmation from Nova Scotia Power that it will buy the energy, but is still waiting for the province to tell him if the project is approved under the province’s community feed-in tariff program. He said he expects word within six weeks.
If the company gets approval, it will do more detailed wind measurements and public consultation and, if all goes well, build the turbines in late 2013.
Community Wind Farms’ partner in the project is the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.
The feed-in tariff program provides small-scale power producers with an established price per kilowatt for 20 years, as long as they partner with First Nations, municipalities, co-operatives or non-profit groups.
The first five community-based green energy projects under the program were announced a month ago for Digby Neck, New Minas, Tatamagouche, the Chester area and Avondale in Pictou County.
At the time, Energy Minister Charlie Parker said the province received 88 proposals from more than a dozen community groups across Nova Scotia. He said in December he expects to announce the next group of approvals early this year.
[published online as “Wind firm waits for N.S. to OK Bridewater-area turbine plan]
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