A Guysborough County wind farm that was supposed to be fully operational by Jan. 1 has encountered a last-minute mechanical problem with two turbines and has to pay penalties for being late.
Four of Sable Wind’s six turbines have been running since mid-December. A fifth machine, which encountered a minor problem during the startup phase last month, is slated to become operational Friday at the Canso-area site.
However, the sixth turbine requires a new part and is now expected to be commissioned some time before the end of March.
“Enercon is looking after that,” Warden Vernon Pitts of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough said Thursday, referring to the turbine supplier.
“They have to build a new component, and that’s being built in Germany.”
There’s no word yet on when the replacement equipment will arrive, Pitts said.
The municipality is majority owner of the $27-million wind farm. Nova Scotia Power holds a 49 per cent stake in the 13.8-megawatt venture.
Pitts said the project is being paid for by the electricity it is generating now.
But the amount will be reduced to take into account late penalties included in the wind farm’s supply contract with the utility.
Neither the municipality nor Nova Scotia Power will confirm the amount being levied against the project.
But the amount may be about $2,000 per day, based on a draft of the power purchase agreement. An early version of the contract was filed with the provincial Utility and Review Board in 2012.
Based on that document, the partners would pay about $1,000 each per day, although Guysborough’s share would be slightly higher than the power company’s.
A Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman said the utility plans to find money in its operating budget to pay its share of the late charges. Otherwise, the amount would have to come from company profit, Beverley Ware said.
“Customers would benefit from it. If we can’t find those savings in our budget, that does mean that our earnings would be less,” Ware said.
Pitts said the wind farm will still make money initially, even with the penalty in place.
“We’re generating more than enough energy to offset whatever the penalty will be,” he said, although he wouldn’t disclose the revenue amount.