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Wind farm wins N.S. nod on second try

An Upper Hammonds Plains wind farm that didn’t get provincial environment approval this summer has been successful the second time around after changes were made to the project.

The Chebucto-Pockwock community wind project was approved Wednesday by Environment Minister Randy Delorey after the province accepted an alternative turbine layout suggested by the developer.

The project is proposed by Pockwock Wind LP, a partnership between Chebucto Pockwock Lake Wind Field Ltd. and juwi Wind Canada Ltd.

Chebucto Pockwock Lake Wind Field is a subsidiary of Dartmouth’s Chebucto Wind Field Inc., a community economic development fund.

The 10-megawatt project was put on hold by former environment minister Sterling Belliveau, who ruled there wasn’t enough information to make a decision.

The department asked for more detail on the project’s potential impact on wetlands.

Government officials expressed concern about turbine setbacks because of two endangered bird species in the area, the rusty blackbird and the Canada warbler.

The developer went back to the drawing board to produce more information on the project and also propose two alternative turbine layouts.

The one accepted by Delorey reduces the area of wetland habitat within 80 metres of a turbine to almost zero while still meeting other setback requirements.

The wind farm, which will have five two-megawatt turbines, will be located on land being leased from Halifax Water.

The project will produce enough electricity to power 3,300 homes annually.

Construction is slated to start next spring or summer, with the wind farm becoming operational in the fall.

The project is proposed under the province’s community feed-in tariff program, which encourages local ownership of small-scale renewable energy projects by giving owners a fixed long-term rate for the electricity they generate for Nova Scotia Power.