PARRSBORO - Tidal power is not the only form of renewable energy being explored in and around Parrsboro.
The inter-municipal energy committee made up of representatives from Parrsboro, Springhill and the Municipality of Cumberland County is moving ahead with a project to install a small, 120-foot wind turbine near Parrsboro's water reservoir.
A business plan will be presented at the committee's next meeting, after which it will go to the municipalities for approval. The provincial government and Nova Scotia Power would then be approached with a Community Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) application, by which the electricity would be sold to Nova Scotia Power.
The COMFIT program allows groups or municipalities to build windmills or other devices that generate renewable energy, and sell the power to the province at a guaranteed rate for a set term.
"The key is the energy has to be used by the local community," said Parrsboro CAO Ray Hickey. "We can't build a bunch of windmills and sell them to Nova Scotia Power to power the province. It has to be used in the local area."
Parrsboro council expressed its approval for the project at its Jan. 24 monthly session, with deputy mayor Lisa Ward noting that the project could move forward quickly.
Although the energy committee has not yet been formalized with an inter-municipal agreement, Hickey said that should be done within the month. Regardless, he said the application can still be made by one or more municipalities.
"Our goal is to build several, hopefully, and the larger ones would provide a lot of power to the local area," he said. "The first one would be very small and inoffensive. Most people won't even hear it, and certainly won't see it."
Although it will only generate a small amount of electricity, the proposed turbine would serve as a good test for measuring the available wind, and to familiarize the energy committee with the COMFIT process, Hickey explained.
"It will be good to try and go through the procedure and the process of the COMFIT application, making sure it all works," he said. "Then it will generate a little money and hopefully fund our joint energy office, and hopefully it will then take less money for our municipalities to run it."
The benefits of the site are that the property is already owned by the town, and access to existing power lines is available, Ward pointed out in her finance committee report.
Hickey said they plan to have the turbine installed as soon as possible, possibly within a few months.