Wind turbines are popping up near Cape Breton University off the highway between Sydney and Glace Bay, part of an effort by the school to generate power and make some money doing it.

One of the 98-metre-high turbines has been erected. The second is partially built and the third will be installed within weeks.

The three turbines are on the old DEVCO railway bed, which CBU is leasing from the federal government.

CBU's director of facilities management, Donnie MacIsaac, says the project will be a money-maker and $17 million was borrowed to the finance it. 

He said CBU will be able to make monthly payments on the 20-year loan, and make a profit: "So, we are generating about $400,000 or $500,000 a year in positive cash flow to the university."

The money will go into a trust and CBU will decide how it will be spent on campus.

CBU and Natural Forces Technologies of Halifax are partners in the project under the provincial community feed-in tariff program. It is expected to produce as much as 16.2 gigawatt hours a year. 

"The total amount of energy we expect to produce in a year is about double the amount of energy the university uses," said MacIsaac.

The electricity will be fed into two Nova Scotia Power substations at Victoria Junction and Glace Bay. 

MacIsaac expects the first of the three turbines to start producing power before Christmas.