The province has granted environmental approval to a planned expansion of the Dalhousie Mountain wind farm.
The project would see 28 turbines and generators built on land located between Mount Thom, Pictou County, and Earltown, Colchester County.
“We’re happy to have that stage of the project completed,” Reuben Burge, who heads RMSenergy Ltd., said Wednesday of the environmental approval.
“It sets the project up as a shovel-ready project to be built. So it puts us in a good position for the future.”
Burge, the wind developer behind Clydesdale Ridge Wind LP, is still waiting to hear if the proposed 50-megawatt project is among those the province has selected to provide green energy to Nova Scotia Power.
“It’s still in the hands of the renewable energy administrator to decide on which projects go forward,” Burge said. “We don’t have any word yet on whether or not we’ll be actually building it.”
The province is slated to announce in early August which renewable energy producers will get the green light.
“I’m nervous about it,” Burge said.
If Clydesdale Ridge goes ahead, construction work would start in the middle of 2013, he said.
Conditions in the environmental approval include a stipulation that provincial wildlife and environmental experts will have a say in specific turbine locations and the position of the substation.
“They just want to ensure that we’re doing what we proposed that we were going to do,” Burge said.
Planning for 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.
If the project does get the go ahead, it will employ more than 100 people for 18 months.
The turbine towers will be 80-metres tall and the project will provide enough energy to power about 20,000 homes annually.
Toronto’s Firelight Infrastructure Partners LP, which invests in North American renewable energy projects, including wind, hydro and solar, is the majority owner of the Clydesdale Ridge project. Firelight also partnered with Sprott Power Corp. on its Amherst wind project.
The project is designed to expand on the 34-turbine, 51-megawatt Dalhousie Mountain wind farm that is operated by a subsidiary of RMSenergy.
“We’re in our annual maintenance period now,” Burge said. “So we’re changing our gear box oils and doing full lubrification and inspection of the 34 turbines we run here in Dalhousie.”
Eight technicians take care of the existing facility.
“We do 24-7 monitoring, too, 365 days of the year,” Burge said. “So there’s always somebody on call to respond to grid events or turbine failures or, we call them trips. When they trip off line, somebody has to be there to respond to turn them back on.”
Using remote sensing technology, technicians can be at home and get a warning alarm on their phone or computer that something has gone wrong.
“We respond and come to the site, depending what it is, and we climb a tower and fix it,” said Burge, a former aircraft maintenance engineer.
“But thankfully they’re very few and far between. We’ve got a great crew to take care of them.”
Meanwhile, Montreal-based Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc., which is planning a wind farm in the Wentworth area, declined to comment on a report in an online publication that said the company had won approval from the province.
“We can’t really make any statement regarding the outcome of the (request for proposals) because it’s currently a confidential process,” Nicolas Muszynski, the company’s senior development manager said Wednesday.
The subsidiary of RES Group, headquartered in the United Kingdom, is seeking approval for a development of up to 80 megawatts in the Cobequid Hills. The project could cost about $200 million.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding