Wind farm interest in the air

Carla
Carla Allen
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There was an air of quiet excitement in the packed fire hall on June 11 as Rodrigo Moura outlined the status of a proposed wind farm for Wedgeport.

Moura is the business development officer for Anaia Global Renewable Energies Inc., a company that is working towards the establishment of 17 (3MW) to 25 (2 MW) wind turbines that will generate 45 to 50 megawatts of power.

A work force of approximately 100 would be required for the two-year construction phase. Five to 10 full time positions would be available for day-to-day operation of the facility afterwards if the project moves forward. The Municipality of Argyle would receive approximately $200,000 to $300,000 annually in taxes.

Anaia will also endeavor to source employees and materials locally if at all possible during the construction phase.

Moura estimates 65 per cent of the costs can be sourced locally, if not in Yarmouth, then in Nova Scotia.

The project is estimated to cost $100 million, with the turbines composing 70 per cent.

With two large wind farms operating in the area, Moura suggests the region could hold appeal as a study area for those interested in similar projects.

The June 11 meeting at the Wedgeport fire hall was held to update residents on the final layout of the wind turbines and to share the results of the environmental assessment performed over the past year.

The project is dependent on a successful power purchase agreement with Nova Scotia Power Inc. and approval of the environmental assessment by the province.

Anaia has experience in several aspects of renewable energy. They have more than 50 MW in solar installations and 1400 MW in wind power (800+ wind turbines) worldwide. There were several reasons why Wedgeport was chosen for the project, says Moura.

“There’s a lot of wind here. I would say nobody would complain about a lack of wind here in this region, “ he said.

Interconnection, the ability to easily connect to the power grid in order to transfer the power generated, is important. In this case, it is 17-kilometres away in Tusket.

Land availability for set back requirements is a consideration. Another requirement is the need for a location where there will be minimal impact on the land. Support from the community is also required.

Moura says the establishment of the Pubnico Wind Farm helped to ease the minds of residents who may have concerns about a similar installation.

In some other places in the province, where people may never have seen one, they are more scared to accept and really take the benefits of a project like this. Rodrigo Moura, business development officer for Anaia Global Renewable Energies Inc.

“In some other places in the province, where people may never have seen one, they are more scared to accept and really take the benefits of a project like this,” he said.

The company held an open meeting in May 2011 and has maintained open lines of communication throughout the project, supplying detailed maps of the affected areas. Moura has also provided his phone number and email to residents and promised to do his best to reply within 24 hours.

The proposed project area is on land that is a mixture of crown property and private ownership. There is no house within the 40-decibel range of the proposed wind turbines.

The environmental assessment began in June 2011 and has just been submitted. The yearlong study looks at potential impacts in every season. Approval of the assessment will hopefully come in September, says Moura, and that is also when the government would award a tender.

“By October we will know if a wind farm will be built in Wedgeport,” he said.

If the project is awarded, engineering studies and layout preparations will proceed from September to Spring 2013.

By the fall of 2014 the wind turbines could be operating.

Moura concluded his presentation with the environmental benefits of wind power.

“About 60 to 70 per cent of all the power in Nova Scotia today comes from coal and coal is very dirty and expensive in terms of health. There are also social affects of where it is mined,” he said.

“The other side is the pollution. This project could reduce about 76,000 tons of coal being mined per year,” he added.“It will also reduce about 170,000 tons of CO2 equivalent. That’s like taking 35,000 cars from the street.

“If we start reducing the amount of coal that we use to produce power, that has a huge impact on our health.”

At its meeting last week, Argyle Municipal Council approved a motion supporting the wind farm project, providing that it meets and adheres to all of the necessary federal, provincial and municipal requirements and regulations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organizations: Anaia Global Renewable Energies, Nova Scotia Power Inc., Argyle Municipal Council

Geographic location: Wedgeport, Nova Scotia, Argyle Yarmouth Tusket

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