Plenty potential for wind in Nova Scotia10/5/2012
The winner of a big wind farm contract awarded this summer says the losers shouldn’t give up on getting their energy projects off the ground.
John Woods, vice-president of energy development with Minas Basin Pulp and Power, told an energy conference Thursday in Halifax that the province shouldn’t forget about the 16 projects that didn’t get the go-ahead.
“If the resource is there, the community acceptance was there and the need for energy is essentially there, we can’t lose sight of that,” he told reporters after a panel on the future of wind energy.
Minas Basin is a partner in the $200-million South Canoe Wind project that was recently approved and slated to be operating by Jan. 1, 2015.
The project, in Lunenburg County near New Ross, will become Nova Scotia’s largest wind farm. The venture includes a 78-megawatt wind farm, led by Oxford Frozen Foods, and a neighbouring 24-megawatt project headed by the Hantsport company.
The third contract, awarded by the province’s renewable electricity administrator, went to Sable Wind.
That $25-million project is majority-owned by the Municipality of the District of Guysborough. The 13.8-megawatt wind farm will be near Canso.
Nova Scotia Power is a minority partner in all three ventures.
Woods said other developers who proposed projects also deserve a shot because they have spent a lot of time and money working on their proposals.
However, the Energy Department has said there is no more room on the system for more large-scale projects for the time being.
That means there may not be any more large wind farms built until closer to 2020, when the province’s renewable electricity target jumps to 40 per cent.
Woods also told the conference some in the industry feel the province is trying to discourage big wind farms by subjecting them to more environmental scrutiny.
“Those of us around here have seen some of the (environmental assessments) that have gone in have been rejected because there’s no market for it,” he told the panel.
Proposed wind projects that have been sent back to the drawing board by the Environment Department since the contracts were awarded have included losing bidders such as the Wedgeport and Lingan projects, as well as one of the winners, Sable.
Woods told reporters he didn’t
know why more projects seem to be
getting asked to provide additional
information these days but said the
industry has concerns.
“That’s the last message that I think we should be giving them as an industry, saying, ‘Thank you, go home now.’”
Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau said Thursday each wind project is evaluated on its own merits.
“Some projects have been asked for more information. It is just asking for more information before a decision is made,” he said in a written statement.
Belliveau said other large wind projects have received environmental approval recently. He mentioned Clydesdale Ridge Wind, a proposed expansion of Dalhousie Mountain that would be located in Pictou and Colchester counties. It received environmental approval in July, with conditions but didn’t land a contract.
Belliveau said the province remains committed to developing wind energy to help meet the 2020 target while also protecting the environment.
“The COMFIT program is a crucial component of this strategy,” he said, referring to small-scale projects being developed through the community feed-in tariff program.
(The Chronicle Herald)