One-year anniversary for Sprott’s Amherst project
© Dave Mathieson – Amherst Daily News
Sprott Power’s Amherst wind farm celebrated its first birthday earlier this month. Company officials are extremely pleased with the electricity generated by the multi-million-dollar project on the marsh near town.
AMHERST – A year after it began generating electricity, Amherst’s multi-million-dollar wind farm has been a success for Sprott Power.
“The last year the turbines operated as we expected, maybe even better than we expected in terms of mechanical performance,” Sprott Power CEO Jeff Jenner said on Tuesday. “I don’t think it was as windy last year as people expected for that neck of the woods, but that’s a good thing in that we probably didn’t have the teething pains that would come if it was really windy.”
Jenner said wind conditions really picked up in 2013. The company CAO said the turbines are performing as expected thanks to more favourable wind conditions over the past three to four months.
“We’re doing better than expected in terms of wind conditions. What’s interesting is it’s very windy one week and then not windy the next week and then windy again the next week,” Jenner said. “On the whole we’re quite pleased with the production.”
The $61-million wind farm began producing electricity last April. When it was built, the 31.5-megawatt farm was expected to provide nearly 100 gigawatt hours of renewable energy on an annual basis, representing enough electricity to power approximately 10,000 homes.
“We are where we thought we’d be, if not a little above that number,” Jenner said.
Sprott was hoping to expand its project from the existing 15 turbines to more turbines on both sides of the Trans-Canada Highway, but applications to the COMFIT program and the province’s request for proposals process were not successful.
The province has indicated it will not be looking for additional wind projects any time soon.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to expand it and when we’re comfortable with the investment. Every day that goes by we have more wind data on how the turbines would perform,” he said. “It’s just determining whether there are going to be any opportunities to make additional investments there.”
With the cost per turbine at about $4 million, Jenner said it’s important to make sure there’s a customer to purchase the electricity it produces.