Public comments open on controversial Wentworth wind farm
Credit: Aaron Beswick, Reporter | Posted: March 15, 2023 | saltwire.com ~~
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[Protect Wentworth Valley is urging the provincial government to declare the Wentworth Valley area of Cumberland and Colchester counties as a wilderness area to protect the Mainland moose and to stop proposed industrial wind farm development.]
The proponents behind a large wind farm planned for the Wentworth area have registered their environmental assessment.
The move kicks off an opportunity for public comment that runs until April 14, with a ministerial decision on whether to grant a conditional environmental approval by May 4.
If approved, Higgins Mountain Windfarm Limited Partnership proposes to begin construction on 17 turbines along Higgins and Steven mountains overlooking the Wentworth Valley by late 2023 or 2024, with a goal of having them operating by 2025.
The turbines would measure 195 metres tall to the top of the blade’s arc and each would have a generating capacity of between 5.9 and seven megawatts.
The company is backed by Sipekne’katik First Nation, British Columbia’s Elemental Energy Renewables Inc., and Stevens Wind Ltd.
The project has been opposed by a group of local residents organized under the banner of the group Protect Wentworth Valley. The group is also opposed to another project that would run along the hills forming the opposite side of the valley. That project, by Renewable Energy Systems Canada Ltd., would see between 16 and 20 large turbines built.
Some 50 people attended a public meeting held by the group with Cumberland South MLA Tory Rushton in February. They raised concerns about the proposed wind farms’ effect on mainland moose populations, biodiversity, local housing prices, the view and tourism.
“This is not the right location for industrial wind turbines,” reads Protect Wentworth Valley’s website.
“Protect Wentworth Valley supports renewable energy, however, there are implications with these massive turbines for everything from wildlife degradation, human health, economic development, and general disregard of the peace and enjoyment of the land.”
Higgins Windfarm was one of five proposals selected by the province last August in a renewable energy procurement that combined are supposed to have a capacity of 372 megawatts and produce 1,373 gigawatt hours per year of electricity. That equals 12 per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity consumption and would help the province toward meeting its renewable energy targets.
All five of the projects are partially owned by First Nations.
The others include:
- Benjamins Mill Wind Project near Falmouth in Hants County, developed by Natural Forces Development and WMA
- Ellershouse 3 Wind Project in Hants County, developed by Potentia Renewables and Annapolis Valley First Nation
- Weavers Mountain Wind Energy Project near Marshy Hope in Pictou and Antigonish counties, developed by SWEB Development and Glooscap First Nation
- Wedgeport Wind Farm Yarmouth County, developed by Elemental Energy and Sipekne’katik First Nation.
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