New Brunswick

Maritime wind farm nears completion

A new wind farm between Sackville and Amherst is expected to be producing power by the end of March, with a possible expansion on the horizon. And another, larger wind farm could soon be built in New Brunswick.

Expected to be producing power by the end of March

Nine of 15 wind turbines have already been installed at the Maritimes' newest wind farm, located between Sackville and Amherst. (CBC)

A new wind farm between Sackville and Amherst is expected to be producing power by the end of March, with a possible expansion on the horizon.

And another, larger wind farm could be built in New Brunswick.

The current one, located right off the highway between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, will generate 31.5 megawatts of green energy, said Don Bartlett, the chief operating officer of Sprott Power Corp., the Toronto-based company leading the project.

That's enough to power 10,000 homes in the Amherst area, he said.

"One of the misconceptions people have is when they see these wind farms they, for some reason people believe the power's being exported. And that's not the case," said Bartlett.

"All the wind farms in Nova Scotia are serving local load. The power stays right here. And for Amherst, most of this power will be consumed right here."

Sprott Power also plans to bid on another project with the Nova Scotia government, which would see the Amherst wind farm expanded, said Bartlett.

Boost for economies

As it stands, nine of the 15 windmills are already complete, with the tenth expected to be finished this week, and five more by March.

Building the 90-metre tall windmills has contributed to the local economies with 140 people employed at the site, said Bartlett.

"Most of the craft, it's all out of the union hall, local union hall so most of the people working here are in and around the Nova Scotia area," he said.

Installation of the windmills has been quick, but the $61-million project has taken 12 years and two failed attempts by other companies to reach this stage.

Sprott took over the project 10 months ago with Firelight Infrastructure Partners, also a Toronto-based company. They have a 25-year contract with Nova Scotia Power.

Suzlon Wind Energy Corporation is also involved with the project and the wind farm will use towers built at the Daewoo wind turbine plant in Trenton.

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter has said 25 per cent of the province's electricity will come from renewable sources by 2014. That target increases to 40 per cent by 2020.

Meanwhile, Acciona Wind Energy wants to build a wind farm with 43 turbines on the Tantramar Marsh in Aulac, N.B.

But the permitting process, which includes a migratory bird study, is reportedly slowing that project down.

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