Berwick and Mahone Bay are closer to generating their own green electricity.
The Alternative Resource Energy Authority, a partnership of the two municipalities, registered its proposed 16.1-megawatt, seven-turbine Ellershouse Wind Farm in western Hants County for environmental assessment Thursday.
Environment Minister Randy Delorey will decide on or before Feb. 17 if the project, which would generate enough energy to power 4,500 homes, can be granted conditional environmental assessment approval.
Pending approval, construction of the project southeast of Windsor is anticipated to begin in mid-2014, with operations to begin in 2015.
Don Regan, Berwick’s chief administrative officer and superintendent of the Berwick Electrical Commission, said Thursday he thought the project’s chances of getting conditional environmental approval were “very good” to “excellent.”
Both towns have utilities that will use the wind energy.
Regan said the project will help the utilities meet provincial renewable energy standards while providing lower and less volatile electricity costs to their combined 2,150 customers.
Berwick and Mahone Bay now buy electricity wholesale from Nova Scotia Power.
Regan said the authority, which expects the town of Antigonish to become a partner, plans to initially build four turbines with a 9.2-megawatt generating capability at a cost of about $25 million.
Minas Energy of Hantsport will build the Ellershouse project. Minas Energy is part of Scotia Investments Ltd.
Minas Energy spokeswoman Mary-Frances Lynch said Thursday the project will also require a development agreement with the Municipality of the District of West Hants.
Regan said the project, sited in West Hants because of its wind resource, its proximity to transmission lines and its distance from residential areas, has reasonable support from the municipality’s council.
West Hants Warden Richard Dauphinee could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Copies of the environmental assessment registration information are at Ellershouse Post Office, 382 Ellershouse Rd.; Municipality of the District of West Hants, 76 Morison Dr., Windsor; Ecology Action Centre, 2705 Fern Lane, Halifax; the Nova Scotia Environment Department, 30 Damascus Rd., Suite 115, Bedford Commons; Nova Scotia Environment Department library, 1903 Barrington St., Suite 2085, Halifax, and online at www.gov.ns.ca/nse/ea.
Written comments can be sent to the Environmental Assessment Branch, Nova Scotia Environment Department, P.O. Box 442, Halifax, N.S., B3J 2P8, on or before Jan. 28.
The department can be contacted by phone at 424-3960, by fax at 424-6925 or by e-mail at EA@gov.ns.ca.
All submissions, including personal information, will available for public review at the Nova Scotia Environment Department library, Barrington Place, Suite 2085, 1903 Barrington St.
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