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Proposed Cape Breton wind farm not on list of approved renewable energy projects  

Credit:  David Jala | Cape Breton Post | www.saltwire.com ~~

CREIGNISH, N.S. – The company behind a proposed 15-turbine wind farm in western Cape Breton plans to continue to prepare for future production despite not making the list of approved projects in Nova Scotia’s latest procurement of low-cost renewable energy.

The portfolio of initiatives includes two wind farms in Hants County, one straddling Pictou and Antigonish counties, one in Yarmouth County and one near Wentworth in Colchester and Cumberland counties.

Conspicuous by its absence was the Rhodena Wind Project, a Creignish-area undertaking proposed by ABO Energy that calls for the construction and placement of wind turbines on the hills between Highway 19 and the Trans Canada Highway in Inverness County. Its proposed capacity is 100 megawatts, which is enough to power 32,000 homes and that would replace the use of 2.6 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime.

“We’re disappointed not to have made this list but we’re not giving up,” said David Berrade, ABO Wind’s social impact and engagement lead.

“We knew in July that we weren’t short-listed but we’ve already taken fairly big steps to revise the project and the proximity of some of the turbines to the highway and to residents in the area. And there is still lots of work ahead.”

Berrade also said that while ABO has yet to learn why its proposal was not approved, he’s confident that with Nova Scotia’s shift away from fossil fuel-produced electricity the procurement process will open again in the near future.

“The expectation from the province is that there will be another RFP, that’s a request for proposals, as they seek more renewable energy over the next number of years,” he said.

“We don’t know when the next RFP process will occur but we want to make sure we are further ahead in our planning, design, stakeholder engagement and other aspects of the project.”

PROJECT OPPOSITION

It turns out not everybody was disappointed by the wind farm projects approved by the procurement administrator (Customer First Renewables) assigned to evaluate the proposals.

According to Nova Scotia deputy premier and Inverness MLA Allan MacMaster, many property owners in the Creignish area, located near the Rhodena project, were pleased to hear it wasn’t on the latest list of approved initiatives.

“I did not hear from one of those many property owners along that part of Route 19 who were in favour of the wind farm in that location,” said MacMaster.

“With the ocean on one side and the hills on the other, it’s a very scenic area that residents didn’t want touched.”

MacMaster said that despite his constituents’ opposition to the proposed wind farm site, he still feels there is support for wind-generated power. Just not there.

“There are many locations in Nova Scotia where we can generate renewable energy,” he said. “How about offshore?”

RIGHT DIRECTION

Meanwhile, the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre applauded the province for moving closer to its 2020 emissions reduction targets. But Kelsey Lane, the centre’s senior climate policy co-ordinator, said the EAC will continue to press the Nova Scotia government to come up with a comprehensive land-use planning process.

“It’s critical that we have good land-use planning that weighs the different impacts on the land and the different possibilities for where wind can be cited but also the areas we want to protect,” said Lane.

“A provincial land-use process would help us identify where these tensions exist and how we could work around them. The reality is that we do need wind. We have to transition off coal for climate reasons, for health reasons and environmental reasons. And wind is going to be a big part of that transition. We just need to find the best locations.”

THE NUMBERS

The five approved projects are expected to generate 372 megawatts, or 1,373 gigawatt hours, per year. That would represent about 10 to 12 per cent of Nova Scotia’s total energy consumption.

It’s estimated that the five wind farms, all with majority Mi’kmaq ownership, will be completed by 2025. At that time, the province should be generating about 70 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources.

According to the federal government’s Canada Energy Regulator, the 2019 statistics show that 60 per cent of Canada’s total electricity production is from biomass and geothermal, while Uranium accounts for 15 per cent, coal and coke is 11 per cent and natural gas makes up about seven per cent of the production. Nationally, wind-generated power accounts for just five per cent of the total.

In Nova Scotia, coal and coke electricity generation makes up 52 per cent of the province’s total power generation. Natural gas accounted for 22 per cent, wind was at 11 per cent and hydro/wave/tidal was 10 per cent.

Presently, the cost of wind production is estimated to be $53 per megawatt hour, compared with coal at more than $100 per megawatt hour. Solar is slightly cheaper to produce than wind at this time.

By 2030, Nova Scotia is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 53 per cent below 2005 levels and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Source:  David Jala | Cape Breton Post | www.saltwire.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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