Amherst wind farm construction tentatively scheduled for '08 start

Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - A multi-million-dollar wind farm project put on hold just over a year ago is back on track.

Amherst wind farm construction tentatively scheduled for '08 start

AMHERST - A multi-million-dollar wind farm project put on hold just over a year ago is back on track.

Acciona Energy and Wind Dynamics are proposing to construct and operate a 30-megawatt wind power facility on the marsh just west of the Trans-Canada Highway. The project will include 20 turbines that will be 80-metres tall.

"We're pretty far along in terms of development. We got our permit from the county, which is a significant milestone," Acciona's director of development Jiddu Tapia said during an open house at the Wandlyn that was attended by about 50 people. "We hope to start construction later next year and be running by late 2009."

The company was a successful bidder the last time Nova Scotia Power sought proposals for the generation of wind power. However, with rising costs the project was put on hold because it was no longer viable.

"Now we're a company that manufactures its turbines and we will be using our turbines on this site," Tapia said.

Tapia said the project description has been submitted along with associated bio-physical studies, noise studies and setback studies. The company is presently working on its environmental assessment and awaiting word on its application to Nova Scotia Power.

While most people attending last night's session favoured the project, there were a few who still have some questions.

Jim Milner, who took the original project to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board delaying it six months, remains concerned over the impact of shadow flicker on the town and he's concerned with what would happen to the turbines after they are no longer needed.

"They need to have a shadow flicker test done and should have to make it public so the people can judge how it's going to impact them," Milner said.

Milner raised those same concerns to the utility and review board, which in its decision denied his appeal saying the project adequately addressed the issues that were raised.

Malcolm Logan said he is concerned about the impact on wells from drilling operations associated with construction while John Covert said he favours the project as long as noise doesn't become an issue.

"I'm all for wind farms, but I'm a little concerned about whether you'll be able to hear these things in the town," Covert said. "After about 10 years when bushings and bearings wear out, will they be noisy?"

Tapia said issues raised are being addressed by the environmental assessment and he pointed out the project has been altered slightly to address noise concerns by moving it further away from the town.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power, Trans-Canada Highway, Acciona Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board

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