Marsh ideal spot for wind farms: study

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - The Nova Scotia side of the Tantramar Marsh and other parts of Cumberland County may be ideally suited for the creation of wind farms, says a researcher from the University of Moncton.

AMHERST - The Nova Scotia side of the Tantramar Marsh and other parts of Cumberland County may be ideally suited for the creation of wind farms, says a researcher from the University of Moncton.

Yves Gagnon, who was recently hired by the Nova Scotia government, to draw up a wind map of the province said a similar study in New Brunswick revealed favourable conditions on the Tantramar Marsh near the Nova Scotia border.

"There are some good winds in that region, but we really haven't studied the Nova Scotia side yet," Gagnon said. "Judging from what we found on the New Brunswick side, we're pretty sure we'll find favourable conditions on that side as well."

Cumberland County may soon become the latest battleground around the viability of large scale wind farms. Wind Dynamics and EHN are planning to erect 19 wind turbines on the marsh near Amherst while Atlantic Wind Power is proposing a wind farm with 20 to 27 turbines on the Gulf Shore near the Irishtown Road outside Pugwash.

The Wind Dynamics/EHN project was put on hold because of soaring equipment costs, but is expected to be restarted soon while the Gulf Shore project is going ahead despite opposition from nearby residents who feel the turbines are too close to their homes.

"The first step is to complete a cross-section of the province that shows the best locations to construct wind farms," Gagnon said. "Large companies can do that internally or by hiring consultants. What Nova Scotia is doing is making the information open to everyone. It's good for developers who want to build wind farms and it's good for municipal groups who will know where the best winds are in Nova Scotia."

Gagnon said it will also benefit land owners in that it will give them a better idea of the potential wind resource on their land so they'll be in a better negotiating position when approached by a developer.

Using satellite data as well as meteorological information, Gagnon's research team will be able to develop wind maps for various information. His group will also be looking at other physical factors such as prevailing winds and elevation.

His group is also partnering with the Middleton campus of the NSCC which will develop an interactive website that will include detailed wind data as well as nearby infrastructure such as transmission lines.

"It's going to be a very nice user-friendly database easily accessible by the people of Nova Scotia," he said.

He expects the project to be done by early fall.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: University of Moncton

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, AMHERST, Cumberland County New Brunswick Irishtown Road Pugwash

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