AMHERST - Amherst's proposed multimillion-dollar wind farm remains in limbo as the company behind the plan to erect 20 wind turbines on the marsh waits for economic conditions to improve.
"Nothing has really changed from last year," said Acciona Energy spokesperson Eric Schneider. "We are still looking for a good solution for that project."
Last March, Acciona Energy confirmed the 30-megawatt wind farm that was supposed to go into service in November near Exit 3 would not be constructed in 2009 because of economic conditions.
At the time, Schneider said liquidity for capital projects was tight and the Amherst wind farm project is extremely capital intensive.
While not wanting to get into specifics, Schneider said the situation hasn't really changed all that much over the last 10 months.
Schneider said there is no timeline at this point as to when the Amherst project might go ahead or when another project proposed for the New Brunswick side of the border near Aulac will go ahead.
"It's the economics of projects like this that have changed since we started," Schneider said. "We're still looking for the best way to move the project forward.
"From the perspective of having good wind and very co-operative land owners, it's still a very good project. Ultimately, there's still a lot of hope the project will come to fruition. I don't think it's off the table."
This is Acciona's second attempt at a wind farm in the Amherst area. A similar project was killed in December 2006 because rising costs meant the project was no longer viable. The company resubmitted its application in 2007 and entered into a 25-year power purchase agreement with Nova Scotia Power in 2008.
It's unknown if Acciona is being punished by the power utility for missing the November deadline. Schneider was uncertain if the company forfeited its deposit to Nova Scotia Power.
Cumberland County Warden Keith Hunter remains hopeful the project will eventually go ahead and he sees it paying benefits to the area in development and tourism.
"No matter what some people say, these things do draw tourists," the warden said. "As well, there will be lots of development during construction and that's money for the community."
While he doesn't know much about about the wind farm business, Hunter said it's understandable why Acciona is waiting before proceeding with the project. The warden said the economy hasn't turned around to the point that it would be feasible to move forward with such an expensive capital project.