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Cheticamp wind project gets go-ahead

CHETICAMP – Cheticamp is the latest Cape Breton community to get provincial approval for a renewable energy project.

Five projects were announced Monday by the Department of Energy. Along with Cheticamp’s 0.9-megawatt wind project, wind projects in the latest round of Community-Feed-In Tariff approvals include a 1.99-megawatt project in Wedgeport, near Yarmouth, a 2.0-megawatt project in Bayswater, near Chester, a 4.6-megawatt project on Lake Major Road in North Preston, and a 50-kilowatt project at the Spiddle Hill Wind Farm, near Tatamagouche.
But there’s plenty of work to be done before a wind turbine produces any electricity for Cheticamp and Inverness County, says Martha Campbell, project manager for Celtic Current, which owns the project along with Dutch company Zutphen Wind.

“We have to put up a metering tower and monitor the wind for a year,” she said. “Work on that is going to start within the next two weeks.”

The reason for a wind metering tower, she said, is to satisfy the wind turbine supplier that the correct turbine will be used on the project. With that out of the way, a wind turbine will be selected, shipped to the site and up and running within two months of its arrival.

Other Cape Breton projects proposed by Celtic Currents include sites in Barrachois, Lingan, Marion Bridge and Point Aconi, all in co-ordination with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. A 2.0-megawatt Celtic Current project in Mulgrave has already received provincial approval.

“The Cheticamp site is 900 kilowatts, but all the other sites are 2.0 megawatts,” said Campbell, adding there will be little difference in how each site looks, regardless of output. “There is just one machine on site; it’s not like a big wind farm. And it will be 51 per cent owned by the community, so we will be selling shares in it.”

Through the Community-Feed-In Tariff, she said, Celtic Currents has a 20-year power purchase agreement with Nova Scotia Power, whereby the electricity produced by the turbine is dumped into the power company’s distribution line.

On Feb. 14, Energy Minister Charlie Parker announced a 5.4-megawatt wind project, jointly owned by Cape Breton University and Cape Breton Explorations Ltd., near Sydney. Also in that round of approved projects was a 3.5-kilowatt wind project owned by the Lemoine Development Association, the harbour authority of Grand Etang and SuGen Research Inc. in Grand Etang, Inverness Co.

Each week, the Department of Energy announces a new round of approvals under the Community-Feed-In Tariff program. Applicants can contact the program administrator at comfit@gov.ns.ca to discuss projects.

For more information on the program and to apply, visit www.nsrenewables.ca.