New Brunswick

Slowing economy stalls 2 N.B. wind energy projects

Acciona Wind Energy is delaying two wind farms planned for New Brunswick after experiencing trouble in securing financing due to the struggling economy.

Acciona Wind Energy is delaying two wind farms planned for New Brunswick after experiencing trouble in securing financing due to the struggling economy.

It has power purchase agreements with the provincial government to build a 49.5-megawatt wind farm in Lamèque and a 64.5-megawatt wind farm in Aulac, but the wind energy company is now the latest to feel the pinch of the recession.

Eric Schneider, a spokesman for Acciona Energy, said the company is looking at a number of options to improve the financial viability of the two wind farm projects.

"These projects are unfortunately suffering from this economic downturn that we're experiencing," Schneider said.

Schneider said he doesn't know how long the delays will be, considering the company needs to find financing in an uncertain economy.

"I think everybody's anxious to get construction started. And the fact that they're delayed is obviously disappointing, but the main message that we're trying to convey is that it's disappointing to us as well and we're working to find a solution as quickly as we can," he said.

Northeastern community still hopeful for project

Leonard Laroque, a spokesman for the Renewable Energy Co-operative in Lamèque, said there is still optimism in the northeastern community that the project and its promised jobs will materialize.

"We are confident that the project will be built in the near future," Laroque said.

"So we are not preoccupied with that right now. I think we are confident that we will have the project in the near future."

The New Brunswick government's renewable energy strategy calls for 400 megawatts of wind power to be plugged into the province's grid by 2010.

The plan is to use renewable energy, such as wind, solar, tidal, small hydro or biomass, to meet at least 10 per cent of the province's electricity needs by next year.

That plan relies on energy from the two Acciona wind farms that were supposed to be up and running by next November. The two delayed projects represent about one quarter of the 2010 goal.

Energy Minister Jack Keir said it's too early to know if the delays will put a dent in the province's plan.