New Brunswick

Bathurst will get $200 million wind farm

Premier Shawn Graham and Energy Minister Jack Keir announced Tuesday that Bathurst will become the third city in New Brunswick to get a wind farm.

Premier Shawn Graham and Energy Minister Jack Keir announced Tuesday that Bathurst will become the third city in New Brunswick to get a wind farm.

Suez Energy has been awarded a 20-year contract to build a wind farm at Caribou Mountain, south of Bathurst, and sell up to 99 megawatts of power to New Brunswick Power, starting in November 2009.

They say the $200 million project will require between 100 and 150 construction workers and create 13 permanent jobs.

The more wind farms, the better for the energy industry, said David Chaundy, a senior economist with the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.

Chaundy co-authored a new report on the regional energy market and said having multiple wind farms in one market is a good idea, as wind is not a constant resource.

"If the wind's blowing in one part of the region and not in another, you can help offset wind blowing in different parts and therefore you get a more stable power supply overall," he said.

In January, wind farms were announced at Lameque, on the province's rugged Acadian peninsula, and Aulac, about 60 kilometres outside Moncton.

Tuesday's announcement will set the stage for Caribou Mountain to become the newest site for a wind farm.

However, Chaundy warned there are financial risks to investing in wind power. The cost of new transmission lines to get the energy to consumers is often high, and he is concerned about New Brunswick's climate change plan.

The government has yet to outline a concrete plan to reach climate change targets, Chaundy said.

"We still have some concerns we've not fully worked out, about the full cost implications and the kind of changes that are required to achieve some of those targets," he said.

The facility planned at Lameque will have 33 wind turbines, which will provide 154 gigawatt hours of power per year, or roughly enough power to meet the electricity needs of about 8,900 homes.

The wind farm at Aulac will be a 43-turbine facility and is expected to supply power for about 10,300 homes.