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Wind farm gets conditional OK

Provincial Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau has given conditional approval to Watts Wind Energy Inc.’s 3.2-megawatt energy project in Shelburne County.

The approval, announced Wednesday, includes conditions that Watts Wind submit an additional mainland Nova Scotia moose inventory before clearing and construction of the two-turbine project at Atwoods Brook, about four kilometres west of Barrington Passage.

The developer is also required to educate employees about wood and Blanding’s turtles and to notify the Natural Resources Department if they are encountered.

Watts Wind must also develop a program to monitor birds, bats and moose before construction.

Site preparations that include deforestation must be done from Sept. 1 to March 30.

Watts Wind plans to begin construction later this year, with commissioning early in 2014.

Vice-president Paul Pynn said the company is reviewing the conditions included in the approval, but he didn’t think they would affect the construction schedule.

In March, Belliveau asked for more information on the impact Watts Wind’s planned $15-million, four-turbine McLellans Brook, Pictou County, project would have on birds, bats and moose.

The company has another project under development in Ketch Harbour and early-stage ones in New Minas and Bayswater.

It holds a 90 per cent interest in a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine near Sheet Harbour that generated 4.7-million kilowatt hours of electricity last year.

Watts Wind has a 20-year power purchase agrement with Nova Scotia Power Inc.

The Dartmouth company is organized as a Community Economic Development Investment Fund.

Investors may be eligible for non-refundable provincial tax credits of up to 65 per cent.