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Wind farm foes get green light to carry on appeal

A Bible Hill-area community group has gotten the go-ahead to continue its appeal of an Energy Department approval of a Colchester County wind project.

The province’s Utility and Review Board ruled last week that it will hear the case, which was filed by the Friends of Harmony, Camden, Greenfield and Surrounding Areas. The group launched the appeal in January of a Nov. 24 decision by then-energy minister Andrew Younger to approve a change in the two-turbine venture.

The province and developer Affinity Wind LP urged the provincial regulator to quash the appeal, saying the 60-day period for filing it had expired. Their lawyers argued that the Greenfield project was actually approved in July 2012.

But the regulator ruled that the Nov. 24 departmental decision involved more than housekeeping matters. The new approval extended the project’s in-service date by four months, from July 31 to Nov. 30 of this year.

“The application of November 2014 by Affinity was, in effect, a new application,” the preliminary decision said.

Affinity is a partnership led by the non-profit Nova Scotia SPCA. Pictou County wind developer Reuben Burge is also working on the 3.2-megawatt project.

A spokesperson for the community group couldn’t be reached Monday for comment.

Burge said the group is exercising its right to appeal.

“We’re just going to participate in the process and hope everything works out on the other end,” he said.

The Friends of Harmony launched the appeal on the grounds that the project didn’t have the community support required under the province’s community feed-in tariff program. Nor does the venture meet guidelines for community ownership, the group added.

The Bible Hill-area group had launched an appeal in July of the project’s 2012 ministerial approval. But the board tossed out that case, saying almost two years has passed since Younger’s original decision.

The developer – also president of RMSenergy, operator of the 51-megawatt wind farm at Dalhousie Mountain – said the appeals haven’t created delays with the Greenfield project. Site construction is complete and turbines are slated to be assembled once the weather improves, he added.

Some components are on site now while others still have to be delivered, Burge said.