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3 municipalities see future in building wind farms together

Three communities with their own utilities are joining forces on a proposal to generate more wind energy in New Brunswick.

Saint John Energy and smaller utilities in Edmundston, and Perth-Andover have submitted joint proposals to develop two wind energy projects, the Charlotte County Community Wind Farm, near South Oromocto Lake, and Chapman Community Wind Farm in Chapmanville in Carleton County.

Each of the proposed projects would generate enough electricity to power 6,400 households, said Dan Dionne, chief administrative officer for the Village of Perth-Andover.

“We’re very excited there’s an opportunity here to have local ownership of renewable energy and having some of the proceeds stay within the province,” said Dionne.

The cost of each project would be around $60 million, which would come from all partners.

“Each one being responsible for their share,” he said. “It would be a combination of borrowing and existing capital.”

Both proposed sites are known for high winds. They areas are wooded but partly deforested and are not near homes, a news release said.

Power from the wind turbines would be placed on the grid for all customers to use under a 25-year arrangement with NB Power to buy 100 per cent of the output, Dionne said.

Valeco Énergie Québec, which already operates renewable energy power plants, would be brought in to develop the projects.

Profits would go to all three utilities and Valeco, and the cost for consumers would be comparable to the price they’re paying now, Dionne said.

The projects were proposed under NB Power’s Locally Owned Renewable Energy Small Scale program. NB Power is reviewing the proposals, and the utilities hope for a decision soon.

If they get approval, the partners hope the projects will be operational by the end of 2020.