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Firms team up on wind farm proposal

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Oxford, Minas Basin plan 100-megawatt operation

 
Two of Nova Scotia’s leading family businesses are teaming on a proposed $200-million, 100-megawatt wind farm in Lunenburg County.
Oxford Frozen Foods, controlled by the Braggs, Minas Basin Pulp and Power, controlled by the Jodreys, and Nova Scotia Power Inc. registered the South Canoe Wind Power Project for an environmental assessment Thursday.

“If successful, it would be the largest in the province,” said John Woods, Minas Basin’s vice-president of energy development, in an interview Thursday.
The project would be located on 2,790 hectares of private land, mostly owned by the Hantsport pulp and power company, that is surrounded by the communities of Waterville, Upper Vaughan, New Russell and Leminster.
South Canoe would involve 33 to 50 turbines, depending on the size of turbine used, which has yet to be determined, Woods said.
It would produce enough electricity to power 28,000 homes, he said.
The wind project is classified as having a very high potential environmental sensitivity due to the presence of several bird species considered of high conservation concern and of nearby bat hibernation sites.
But Woods said the project proponents have gone to great lengths to mitigate potential environmental impacts.
Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau will decide on or before July 13 if the project can be granted conditional environmental assessment approval.
According to documents filed with the provincial Environment Department, electricity generated by the project will be gathered by an on-site collector system and sent to an on-site substation.
Electricity will be transmitted from the substation by a 17-kilometre transmission line running parallel to Highway 14 to a substation about 4.5 kilometres north of Smiths Corner.
The project is a response to the province’s 2011 request for proposals for the procurement of 300 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity per year as part of its plan to have renewable energy account for 25 per cent of consumed energy by 2015.
Request for proposal submissions, which will be assessed by a government-appointed renewable energy administration, are expected in June, with project commissioning before 2015.
Woods, who wouldn’t identify other potential bidders, said NSP will hold a minority equity stake in the South Canoe project, as required by law.
But he wouldn’t disclose what percentage of the project would be controlled by Minas Basin, which is managing another wind energy project under development in Chester, or by Oxford, which is making its first foray into the wind energy sector.
Oxford and NSP officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Copies of the project’s environmental assessment registration information can be seen at the New Ross Post Office, 28 Forties Rd.; Lakeside Variety, 1808 Route 14, Upper Vaughan; Clean Nova Scotia, 126 Portland St., Dartmouth; Ecology Action Centre, 2705 Fern Lane, Halifax; and Nova Scotia Environment Department offices at 30 Damascus Rd., Suite 115, Bedford and 5151 Terminal Rd., Halifax.
The information can also be seen online at www.gov.ns.ca/nse/ea/.
Written comments can be submitted to the Environmental Assessment Branch, Nova Scotia Environment Department, P.O. Box 442, Halifax, B3J 2P8, on or before June 23.
All submissions will be available for public review in the Nova Scotia Environment Department Library, 5151 Terminal Rd., 5th floor, Halifax.

by Bruce Erskine
The chronicle Herald

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