Nova Scotia Power wants to start building a Guysborough County wind farm, even though the project still needs provincial regulatory approval.
The power company has asked the Utility and Review Board for permission to start construction so Sable Wind can meet a Dec. 15 in-service date.
“With this approach, Nova Scotia Power’s shareholder bears the risk that the board will require changes to the project or decline to approve the project in whole or in part,” David Landrigan, general manager of regulatory and legal services, said in a letter made public Thursday.
The utility and the Municipality of the District of Guysborough are teamed on the 13.8-megawatt project. The six-turbine venture will be near Canso.
The municipality is majority owner. Nova Scotia Power owns 49 per cent.
But the board still needs to approve the utility’s $15-million share, which ratepayers would fund.
Nova Scotia Power, which has been allowed to start building other wind farms early, said it will soon file the capital project with the regulator.
The utility’s involvement in Sable Wind and a larger Lunenburg County wind farm has been controversial.
An independent renewable electricity administrator the province appointed gave the utility-backed projects the green light in 2012. The wind farms are being built to help meet the province’s 25 per cent renewable electricity target for 2015.
Other developers cried foul, saying Nova Scotia Power and its partners had an unfair advantage in the competitive bid process.
The board OK’d the utility’s capital project for the South Canoe wind farm last year. Oxford Frozen Foods and Minas Energy, formerly Minas Basin Pulp & Power of Hantsport, lead the New Ross-area venture.
One developer, Cape Breton Explorations, is fighting the board’s decision in court.
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