A green energy partnership between a pair of Nova Scotia native communities received a key go-ahead from the province Friday.
The Eskasoni First Nation received Energy Department endorsement for a 4.4-megawatt wind project it’s developing in conjunction with the Millbrook band.
The project was approved as part of the community feed-in tariff program, which encourages communities to develop and own renewable energy projects.
The program gives the projects a fixed price for the electricity they generate over a 20-year period.
Millbrook First Nation already has department approval for a six-megawatt project on the same site, which the Truro-area band owns.
Steve Parsons, general manager of Eskasoni’s corporate division, said the project will get the band into the wind energy business.
“Working in conjunction with another First Nation just adds to the value of what we’re trying to do,” he said in an interview Friday.
Construction of both wind ventures is expected to begin in the second or third quarter, he said.
Eskasoni and Millbrook announced in October that they were joining forces on small-scale wind development.
Eskasoni had planned to build its project on another Truro-area site, at Camden, but its application was stalled by community opposition.
Millbrook chief Bob Gloade approached Eskasoni counterpart Leroy Denny about the possibility of moving the project to Millbrook’s land.
The move will enable the bands to share some project costs, including road construction and environmental assessments.
“We’ve kind of merged with Millbrook in terms of sharing the same land and some economies of scale,” Parsons said.
The Eskasoni project will have two turbines and Millbrook’s will have three machines.
The wind farms are slated to be operational in 2014.
The partnership also involves juwi Wind Canada, the Canadian arm of a German renewable energy developer, and Community Wind Farms Inc. of Mahone Bay.
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