Reuben Burge has plans to expand the Dalhousie Mountain wind farm by adding 28 turbines and generators on land located between Mount Thom, Pictou County, and Earltown, Colchester County.
Clydesdale Ridge Wind LP registered the 50-megawatt project for environmental assessment Monday, with plans to start construction in December and commission the facility within about a year.
“The environmental assessment process is very detailed,” Burge, who heads RMSenergy Ltd., said in a telephone interview from atop Dalhousie Mountain.
Planning work on the project has been going on for more than two years. Experts have examined everything from how it will affect the bat, bird and moose populations, to whether the site was home to early Scottish and English settlers. Historic Mi’kmaq use of the land was also part of the investigation.
“We certainly have spent a great deal of time making sure the quality is there,” said Burge, who declined to say how much all the studies have cost or put a price tag on the entire wind project.
The province is expected to call for bids for renewable electricity this month. Awards to provide green energy to Nova Scotia Power are slated for some time this summer.
“It’s a large financial commitment, I will say that, to make early on in the bidding stage,” Burge said of all the environmental planning work.
But he’s hoping taking that risk up front pays off. “It puts our project in a good position at the time bids are awarded.”
If it goes ahead, the project would provide a boost for the local economy.
“We’ll definitely have hundreds of employees during the construction period,” Burge said. “For approximately 18 months there will be over 100 people employed, in one form or another, whether it’s consultants or direct construction related or tower manufacturing.”
The turbine towers will be 80 metres tall.
“The Clydesdale Ridge Wind Farm Project will provide renewable power sufficient for 20,000 homes annually and have a positive effect on the environment through the displacement of burning fossil fuel,” according to documents prepared by Stantec Consulting Ltd.
“In light of both Canada’s and Nova Scotia’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in renewable energy, the Clydesdale Ridge Wind Farm Project will be an important component of Nova Scotia’s energy mix.”
Toronto’s Firelight Infrastructure Partners LP, which invests in North American renewable energy projects, including wind, hydro and solar, is a partner in the Clydesdale Ridge project. Firelight also partnered with Sprott Power Corp. on its Amherst wind project.
Firelight “is the majority owner” of the Clydesdale project, Burge said.
Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau has until July 24 to decide if the project can be granted conditional environmental assessment approval.
“No significant adverse residual environmental effects of the Clydesdale Ridge Wind Farm Project are predicted,” according to the Stantec report.
The project is slated to expand on the 34-turbine, 51-megawatt Dalhousie Mountain project operated by a subsidiary of RMSenergy Ltd.