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Spanish wind firm in final talks for project

A Spanish renewable energy company has emerged as the top bidder to supply wind turbines for a $200-million wind farm project slated for Lunenburg County.

The South Canoe Wind Project, a partnership between Nova Scotia Power Inc., Oxford Frozen Foods and Minas Pulp and Paper, is in final negotiations with Acciona Windpower North America.

The subsidiary of the Madrid-based wind turbine manufacturer is expected to supply 34 three-megawatt wind turbines, enough to power 28,000 homes.

“We’ve narrowed it down to Acciona,” Mary-Frances Lynch, a spokeswoman for the 102-megawatt project near New Ross, said in an interview Tuesday.

“We’re in negotiations with them right now but the negotiations are still ongoing and a final decision is still pending. The main focus right now is finalizing our turbine agreement.”

DSTN Trenton, a Pictou County manufacturer of wind farm parts, could still get in on the deal as a subcontractor to supply towers.

“We do hope we can use DSTN for the project if they can meet our standards on quality and cost,” Lynch said.

She added that the next steps for the project include the geotechnical investigation and engineering design for the site.

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia Power submitted documents to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to have the bulk of its capital costs for the South Canoe Wind Project approved.

While the total forecasted costs of the capital project are

$196 million, Nova Scotia Power’s portion is expected to be just over half that amount.

The utility holds a 49 per cent stake in the South Canoe Wind Project, which includes a 78-megawatt wind farm, led by Oxford, and a neighbouring 24-megawatt project headed by Minas Basin.

Nova Scotia Power is currently seeking approval to spend

$93 million but has indicated that the project will require an additional $23 million in spending related to line and system upgrades as well as a transmission line and substation.

The utility wants the regulator to approve its capital spending request by the end of March “due to the long delivery times associated with the wind turbine assets.”

“Elements of pricing and project spend will also be at risk past this date,” the utility said in documents filed with the regulator.

Nova Scotia Power indicated in its filings that it would like to order the wind turbines by March of 2013 in order to have the turbines delivered to the site by May 2014.

Commercial operation of the wind farm is expected to start in December 2014, just in time for the project to contribute to the utility’s requirement to source 25 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015.