Higgins Mountain off wind farm list

Christopher Gooding
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SPRINGHILL - When Nova Scotia Power announces the successful tenders to become part of its initial phase of wind farm electricity producers Higgins Mountain will not be on the list, says Graham Findlay, general manager for 3G Energy. After a year of working on its proposal the energy producers did not make the cut.
That's not to say, however, the energy company hasn't cut new ground in the wind farm technology sector.
"Nova Scotia Power is playing very tough with our industry," Findlay said addressing the Springhill Chamber of Commerce last week. "They have penalties for not delivering on schedule because they're trying to meet a world mandate. So we decided if we were going to get heavy penalties our contracts were going to get penalized."
Finding suppliers who would play ball with 3G's quid-pro-quo strategy, Findlay, is a first for the industry that operates on an international stage.
"It's a first for the industry," Findlay said. "Suppliers in the wind energy can hold up a project from a year to years."
When work began to install 3G's first wind turbine in Rodney, N.S. their supplier provided notice they could not ship the 1.5 MW turbine for another year. It's replacement, nicknamed Hildegard, was bought for $2 million over the phone and delivered on time. The company has since bought three more models of the Hildegard turbine.
Without an agreement with Nova Scotia Power 3G is moving forward with developing its Rodney and Higgins Mountain wind farms, keeping their eye on future contracts beyond 2009. At least four more wind turbines are proposed for the Rodney area while a gamut of options are under review for the Higgins Mountain area while Findlay continues to meet with concerned interest groups in that region. Even with opposition to the wind farms, Findlay says, there's opportunity to create first for the province.
"We've actually doubled the set back distance from 500 metres from property lines to 1000 metres," Findlay set. " Cumberland County took the initiative years ago and determined the set back. Having reflected...and looking at the land available to us we doubled that to 1,000 m."
Nova Scotia Powers Margaret Murphy could not comment on what agreements have been made with wind farms throughout the province but said there's a great sense of excitement within NSP behind the project. Announcements of the awarded tenders, she said, will be made throughout the province when details are finalized.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power, Springhill Chamber of Commerce

Geographic location: Rodney, Cumberland County

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