August 4, 2012
Nova Scotia

Projects get wind taken out of sails

By JOANN ALBERSTAT, Business Reporter | The Chronicle Herald | thechronicleherald 3 August 2012

The majority of large-scale wind farms proposed across Nova Scotia won’t be going ahead any time soon, the Energy Department confirmed Friday.

Nineteen projects were pitched to the province, which issued a tender call earlier this summer aimed at adding about 100 megawatts of wind to the grid, starting in January 2015. But only three ventures were approved when the renewable electricity administrator announced contracts on Thursday.

“There are no plans for further (large-scale) wind procurement at this time,” department spokeswoman Donna Chislett said via email.

“We are confident that we will meet our 2015 (renewable electricity) target with the addition of the wind projects announced (Thursday).”

Three newcomers to the wind energy business have teamed up with Nova Scotia Power on the next round of wind farms in the province.

The successful projects include $200-million South Canoe Wind, located in Lunenburg County, between Chester and Windsor. It consists of a 78-megawatt wind farm, led by Oxford Frozen Foods, and a neighbouring 24-megawatt outfit, headed by Minas Basin Pulp and Power of Hantsport.

South Canoe will become the largest wind project in the province, surpassing 62-megawatt Glen Dhu in Pictou County.

Also getting the green light was Sable Wind, a roughly $25-million project near Canso that will generate 13.8 megawatts. The venture is led by the Municipality of the District of Guysborough.

Nova Scotia Power is a minority partner in all three projects that will be supplying power to its grid under contracts negotiated by the independent administrator, Power Advisory LLC.

Energy Minister Charlie Parker said Thursday in a news release there won’t be room on the utility’s grid for more large-scale wind projects after the three latest are added.

A spokesman for a Pugwash group, opposed to an $85-million wind farm in that area, said he’s “greatly relieved” the project likely isn’t going ahead.

“This is just the wrong place for such a project, as we have pointed out very vigorously over the last several months,” said Dick Gray of the Gulf Shore Preservation Association.

The 33-megawatt, 12-turbine project even drew criticism from entertainer Anne Murray, who has a summer home near the project.

Pugwash Wind developer Charles Demond couldn’t be reached for comment on the venture’s status.

But the project appears to be among the 16 planned wind farms now in limbo.

Among them are planned new developments in almost all parts of the province, stretching from Wedgeport to Cape Breton. Existing wind farms hoping to expand were also shut out, including Sprott Power’s Amherst, Shear Wind’s Glen Dhu and RMS Energy’s Dalhousie Mountain, located in Pictou and Colchester counties.

Although the independent administrator was only expected to pick a handful of projects, one losing bidder said Thursday the industry will want to talk to the province about getting more projects off the ground in the future.

While that won’t happen in the next two years, it’s also not clear when or if the province will want more wind farms beyond that.

The province has mandated that 25 per cent of electricity be from renewable sources starting in 2015, increasing to 40 per cent in 2020.

The Energy Department spokeswoman said the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric development in Labrador will ensure Nova Scotia meets the higher target and complies with new federal regulations that limit coal-fired generation.

The $6.2-billion megaproject on the Lower Churchill River, slated to begin production in late 2017, will bring electricity to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and other markets via subsea cable.

“Lower Churchill will play an important role in meeting those targets,” Chislett said. “It will also help to back up the wind we will have in the system.”

Even though more large wind farms aren’t in the works, smaller-scale projects are still being developed as part of the province’s community feed-in tariff program.

URL to article: