Cape Breton Exploration Ltd.’s appeal of the provincial utility and review board’s decision approving the $200-million South Canoe wind farm will be heard Dec. 10.
“Our lawyers are cautiously optimistic,” said company president Luciano Lisi in an interview from Glace Bay on Thursday.
The independent power producer contends the review board didn’t have the authority to require Nova Scotia Power ratepayers to pay for and guarantee the profits of the utility’s $93-million investment in the Lunenburg County wind project.
Richard Stephenson of Toronto law firm Paliare Roland is representing Cape Breton Explorations before the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.
He said in an interview Thursday the appeal isn’t about whether the South Canoe project should or shouldn’t have been approved.
“We’re saying Nova Scotia Power can’t put the cost of its investment into the regulated rate base.”
Stephenson said the review board mixed a competitive procurement process with a utility procurement process.
“It’s a mixing of apples and oranges,” he said. “The two shouldn’t mix.”
Lisi wasn’t happy with the Appeal Court’s June decision, based on a Nova Scotia Power application, to impose a partial publication ban on commercially sensitive information related to the South Canoe project.
“It’s really too easy to hide all sort of things when claiming privacy,” he said.
And he also questioned how construction of the project has proceeded while his appeal has yet to be heard.
“They’re going ahead as if nothing has happened,” he said. “How can this be?”
Nova Scotia Power is partnering on the project with Oxford Frozen Foods and Minas Energy, formerly Minas Basin Pulp & Power, of Hantsport.
The 34-turbine wind farm, which will be the largest in the province, is scheduled to begin operating in January.
Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Neera Ritcey wouldn’t comment on the appeal Thursday but said the utility will file its arguments with the court on Oct. 31.
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