Sprott proposal falls short

Amherst wind farm expansion fails to make the cut

Darrell Cole webcomments@ngnews.ca
Published on July 25, 2012
Sprott Power's proposed expansion to its Amherst wind farm may be on hold after its submission to the renewable energy administrator was not approved.

AMHERST – It appears as though Sprott Power’s plan to expand its Amherst wind project will not proceed, at least for the time being.

The company was not successful in its application to the renewable energy administrator to expand the project, although a smaller application through the COMFIT program is still moving forward.

The project was one of 19 submitted to Power Advisory LLC, the company selected to act as the renewable energy administrator for the latest round of expressions of interest.

“We’ll reassess we are. We have some other options we want to evaluate, but overall it’s not the news we were expecting,” Sprott Power’s chief operating officer Don Bartlett said.

The Toronto-based company officially opened its $61-million wind farm near Amherst in late June and was looking to expand on the 31.5 megawatts of electricity it’s generating by building up to 15 additional turbines on the east side of the Trans-Canada Highway closer to Amherst.

It also wants to erect three turbines near the existing project through the province’s community investment program.

Amherst Mayor Robert Small said he has mixed emotions with the news.

“I’d like to see Cumberland County have more opportunities for wind energy, but at the same time this gives us a little breathing room to have more discussions on the appropriate setbacks from the town’s perspective,” the mayor said.

Responding to concerns from citizens, the mayor had written the premier asking for a delay on any additional wind projects until the completion of a Health Canada study on the health effects of wind turbines. The results of that study aren’t expected until 2014.

The official announcement on the successful applicants is not expected until next week at the earliest, but it has been learned that three projects have been approved, including those that are minority owned by Nova Scotia Power.

The projects include South Canoe in Chester – a partnership of Nova Scotia Power, Minas Basin Pulp & Paper and Oxford Frozen Foods, the Municipality of Guysborough and one by RES destined for the Cobequid region near Nuttby Mountain.

It’s not known how many of the applications were from Cumberland County, but it’s believed the Pugwash project, proposed by Atlantic Wind Farms, was also turned down. The North Cumberland Wind Power LP project would have seen up to 12 turbines erected in the Gulf Shore area near the Irishtown Road.

Sprott Power had also applied for a 9.2-megawatt project in Lingan and a 25-megawatt wind farm at Hampton Mountain.

EDF Energies was hoping to erect a 50-megawatt project with 30 to 60 turbines on the marsh near Fort Lawrence.

Bartlett said the Amherst operation has proceeded smoothly since it went live earlier this year. The project led to a strong second quarter result for the company. It’s reporting the farm contributed $1.6 million to revenues of $4 million for the period between April and June – a 60 per cent increase over the same three months last year.

Overall revenue from other operations was down slightly to $2.4 million from $2.5 million – which the company attributes to warmer weather and fewer windy days.

dcole@amherstdaily.com