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Province approves $18-million wind project near Amherst

An $18-million wind project near Amherst received approval Tuesday.

The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs, via the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn (KMK) Negotiation Office, are partnering with Wind4All Communities on a six-megawatt project at the end of Fort Lawrence Road, adjacent to a wind farm built earlier this year.

Approval for the project, under the provincial community feed-in tariff program, was announced Tuesday.

“As a company, we’re extremely excited to have a partner such as the KMK, and I think we’re all very much looking forward to the next couple of years of development,” said Austen Hughes, general manager of the Wind4All community economic development investment fund.

Wind Prospect Inc., acquired earlier this year by Natural Forces Technologies Inc. of Dartmouth, administers the fund.

The wind farm will comprise of three two-megawatt machines.

“Through the Amherst project, the Mi’kmaq will become long-term and knowledgeable partners in the renewable energy sector,” Chief Gerard Julian, co-chairman of the assembly, said in a statement.

“As project owners, we will be expanding our ability to continue to preserve Nova Scotian resources and protect the environment for generations to come.”

Hughes said an application for the project was submitted to the Energy Department almost a year ago to the day, and with Tuesday’s approval, “now it’s a case of developing out the site and completing all the environmental assessment and all of the pre-construction work.”

“We’re anticipating really going into the early stages of construction toward the end of next year.”

Construction is anticipated to take at least two to three months to complete and, once done, will be harnessing wind power for at least 1, 600 homes.

“We are in the process of developing a wind monitoring program … because, clearly, how windy a site is will obviously have a huge impact on the revenue generated and how much power is generated, but we would expect it to come into the range of about 1,600 homes, I would think,” Hughes said.