PICTOU – County council is getting the paperwork ready in case it wants to expand its wind farm in Riverton.
The Municipality of Pictou County recently sent out a letter to homeowners in the area updating them on the current progress of its existing wind farm as well as mentioning a possible expansion for phase two of the project.
“It’s all preliminary right now,” said County CAO Brian Cullen. “For phase one, it took us 11 months from start to finish.”
He said there is certain criteria applicants have to meet under the ComFIT program, one of which is a community engagement process. As part of this, residents are asked to send in letters to comment on the proposed project.
Cullen said three wind turbines are currently being built by Seaforth Energy in Dartmouth and they will be placed in Riverton, behind Valley View Villa and the Riverton Guest Home. The project is currently running about a month behind.
In previous county council meetings, it was stated that one small wind turbine is estimated to cost between $300,000 and $350,000. It guarantees a set rate at which electricity can be sold back to Nova Scotia Power. Net proceeds from the project’s returns cannot be used for general revenue, such as paying electricity bills, but it can be invested or used for sustainable projects.
The tender was for $1.3 million for three turbines and the county was looking at using some of its $2 million in gas tax revenue to help cover the cost. Wind turbines fall within the guidelines in which the gas tax money can be used and this revenue must be spent by March 2014.
In a letter sent out residents in the area, county council said it decided in January to move the project farther west in the field, which would increase the setback to the nearest buildings. The new location is also favourable for wind energy and allows the potential to add up to three additional 50kW turbines for a total of six.
According to the county’s land use bylaw, wind turbines of less than 50kW require a setback from adjoining property lines equal to one times the height of the tower. The county says the proposed project would exceed the minimum setback by several times the height of the tower.
Cullen said county will be completing a ComFIT application and if it is accepted, county council would need to make a motion to hire a consultant to produce and install the turbines.
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