Marsh may hold key to wind power

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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An Ontario company is looking at marshlands near Amherst as a potential location for a wind farm that could include up to 40 turbines.

An Ontario company is looking at marshlands near Amherst as a potential location for a wind farm that could include up to 40 turbines.

Invenergy Canada recently erected test towers in the Mount Whatley area and at another location near the Missaquash River on the Converse Marsh to determine their suitability as potential wind farm sites.

"Our company is looking at the opportunity to put wind farms up in Atlantic Canada. Everyone has said for years and years that there's plenty of wind in the Tantramar Marsh area and we're here to prove it," company director Mark Bell said. "We've started an exploration campaign with two test towers."

A price tag has yet to be put on the project but it could be close to the $200 million 3G Energy is planning to spend in Higgins Mountain and Rodney.

The company is in the process of preparing a bid to Nova Scotia Power's request for proposals and if successful it hopes to begin erecting turbines in the area sometime next year.

The project is one of several projects planned for Cumberland County in the coming years. Atlantic Wind Farms is proposing a project with 20 to 27 turbines for the Gulf Shore Road near Pugwash.

Wind Dynamics of Saint John and EHN, a subsidiary of Spanish conglomerate Acciona, are expected to move forward with a $60-million development on the Amherst side of the marsh.

Bell said the Tantramar Marsh are seems ideally suited for wind power production because of its proximity to the Bay of Fundy and the flatness of the terrain. What makes the area most attractive is its proximity to existing transmission towers.

"The primary reason we're here is because it's windy and it's a good land spread but we also have these large transmission lines running between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that we can tie into," Bell said. "There's no need to build additional transmission lines which is a key component of this project."

Bell said the area in question is also beneficial in that there are not a lot of residents who could be impacted by the project. He feels wind farms and residents can co-exist as long as there's communication between developers and communities.

"They can co-exist as long as they aren't shoved down people's throats. You have to be sensitive to the concerns of local residents and meet those concerns in an appropriate forum," Bell said, adding his company is planning a series of community meetings in the coming months.



dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power, Acciona

Geographic location: Amherst, Ontario, Mount Whatley Missaquash River Atlantic Canada Cumberland County Gulf Shore Road Pugwash Saint John Bay of Fundy Nova Scotia New Brunswick

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