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NSP wins partial publication ban in wind farm court case

Nova Scotia Power has succeeded in getting a partial publication ban in a court challenge a Cape Breton wind farm developer has launched.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday that commercially sensitive information about the controversial South Canoe wind farm in Lunenburg County will be withheld from the public.

That means that part of an upcoming appeal, launched by Cape Breton Explorations Ltd., will be held behind closed doors. A date for the hearing has yet to be set.

Nova Scotia Power has been trying since last fall to get a court order maintaining confidentiality over information previously protected by the provincial regulator. The Appeal Court panel, which heard the most recent arguments last month, decided that the request was appropriate.

The Utility and Review Board blessed the power company’s capital project for South Canoe, an overall $200-million venture, last year.

Cape Breton Explorations is fighting that decision in court.

Nova Scotia Power is a minority partner in South Canoe, led by Oxford Frozen Foods and Minas Energy, formerly Minas Basin Pulp & Power, of Hantsport.

The 34-turbine wind farm, which will be the province’s largest, is under construction and slated to be operational in January.

Other developers cried foul when the power company’s project was approved, saying Nova Scotia Power and its partner had an unfair advantage in what was a competitive bid process.

A Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman said Tuesday the procedural ruling allows the appeal to continue.

“We have always said we will be abiding by the decision and look forward to participating in the process,” Neera Ritcey said in an interview.

Luciano Lisi, president of Cape Breton Explorations, couldn’t be reached for comment.