Wind turbine farm proponent touts jobs

Environment minister has until March to approve a Halifax firm’s proposed wind turbine farm

A proposed wind farm could bring opportunity to local contractors, says the firm behind the project.

Provincial Environment Minister Tim Halman has until March 9 to decide if Natural Forces, a Halifax-based renewable energy developer, can set up a wind farm near Windsor in Hants County.

Natural Forces is seeking government approval to build up to 28 wind turbines, which would make it the largest wind farm in the province.

Natural Forces submitted their Benjamins Mills wind project plans this week. A window for public comments is open for 30 days before Halman decides whether the project can be granted environmental assessment approval.

According to the project’s documents, the wind farm could produce up to 150 megawatts, which the firm estimates could power as many as 50,000 homes.

The turbines, which will stand 200 feet from base to blade tip, would generate more energy than turbines seen in other parts of the province.

Meg Morris, development manager at Natural Forces, says one of the major benefits of the project includes opportunities during construction.

“There are lots of contracts associated with our construction work … it will produce jobs,” Morris said.

The project will also help support the local economy, Morris said.

“We will need services to support that work from the local area,” she says, adding, “There will be significant tax income from a project this size … which is a benefit to the municipality.”

Morris says the project will help reduce Nova Scotia’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources, which will contribute to reaching the province’s goals.

Nova Scotia Power said last year that 60 per cent of the province’s energy would be from renewable sources this year. It is aiming to reach 80 per cent by 2030.

Natural Forces plans to erect the turbines at an already-cleared site more than a kilometre from nearby homes, Morris said.

“It’s a fairly rural area…it’s a largely disturbed site to begin with, most of the site has been disturbed by forestry activities,” she said.

The project is being developed and will be owned by a partnership between Natural Forces and Wskijnu’k Mtmo’taqnuow Agency Ltd (WMA), a corporation owned by the 13 Mi’kmaq bands in Nova Scotia. The project will be majority-owned by WMA with Natural Forces as the minority partner, said Morris.

The project is expected to be in operation for at least 25 years. If the proposal is approved, construction will begin later this year and the turbines will be working by 2024.

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