A proposal to expand the province’s largest wind farm has cleared a regulatory hurdle.
Shear Wind Inc. of Bedford has received environmental approval to enter Phase 2 of the Glen Dhu wind farm in Pictou County, bringing the second site a major step closer to construction.
“We’re quite pleased with this approval,” Shear Wind’s president and CEO, Mike Magnus, said in an interview Friday.
The province is expected to issue a request for proposals in April to acquire more renewable electricity from independent power producers.
Magnus said having an environmental approval completed is a significant milestone for a wind project.
“It’s an important step for us,” he said. “Strategically, we always want to have all our sites ready for expansion for when a (request for proposals) is issued.”
The next major step for the Shear Wind project is a signed power purchase agreement, Magnus said, adding that construction would begin only when a power deal was in hand.
Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau tacked on a number of conditions to the environmental approval to reduce the impact on wildlife, protect ground and surface water and reduce noise and visual pollution.
Magnus said the conditions and various site restrictions are not “dramatically insurmountable” and Shear Wind is still “bullish” on the potential of the second Glen Dhu site and its other projects across the province.
Glen Dhu, the largest wind farm in Nova Scotia, has been in operation since last March.
The 62-megawatt Phase 1 has been producing more power than expected, and the proposed expansion could triple production.
Cape Breton wind farms have been hobbled by traffic jams on the power grid coming out of the Strait of Canso, but transmission lines with extra space transect the Glen Dhu site.
Shear Wind is also proposing a 50-megawatt wind project in the Canaan Mountains area in Cumberland County.
Shear Wind owns 51 per cent of the Glen Dhu wind farm, and Inveravante Inversiones Universales, S.L., through Genera Avante Holdings Canada Inc., has 49 per cent.
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