NB Power has announced an expansion of the Kent Hills wind farm in Albert County.

The expansion will see TransAlta build five new wind turbines, in addition to the 50 already on the site, which will add 17.25 megawatts of generating capacity to the company's wind farm.

According to TransAlta, this will power an additional 7,300 homes a year.

The new turbines will make up for the wind farm producing a lower-than-expected amount of energy so far.

When the wind farm was originally built, it was believed the number of turbines would be enough to fulfil the agreement TransAlta signed for the sale of power to NB Power. That wasn't the case.

NB Power spokesperson Marc Belliveau said the lower than expected energy production can be attributed to a nationwide overestimating of wind capacity.

"The industry was so new," he said Tuesday.

Costs not released

TransAlta is providing the capital for the expansion of the wind farm near Riverside-Albert, but information about the cost of the project and the cost of the power was not available from the company, and NB Power said it didn't know the cost.

The new turbines, which collectively will be called Kent Hills 3, are expected to be up and running by late 2018, but more regulatory work is still ahead, Belliveau said.  

"There's a lot of work that needs to be done as far as outreach for that, speaking to the community, First Nations engagement and so on, before the construction would begin," said Belliveau.