Nova Scotia’s South Canoe wind project operational

Largest wind farm in the province will provide enough energy for 32,000 homes.

June 22, 2015   by CANADIAN PRESS

CHESTER, NS — The 34-turbine South Canoe Wind Farm in the Nova Scotia municipality of Chester officially opened on June 21, several months behind the original construction schedule.

The wind farm, Nova Scotia’s largest, is expected to provide enough energy for about 32,000 homes, according to the developers.

Construction began early last year on the project, which is a joint venture by Nova Scotia companies Oxford Frozen Foods, Minas Basin Pulp and Power and Nova Scotia Power.

Project spokeswoman Mary-Frances Lynch says they hoped the wind farm would be operational at the beginning of this year.

“We had some appeals related to the project that impacted our schedule,” said Lynch in an interview.

One appeal involved a group called Friends of South Canoe Lake. The group of cottage owners and people with homes near the wind farm challenged the municipality of Chester over its approval of the project.

Emery Peters spoke on behalf of the group during an unsuccessful appeal before the province’s utility and review board in 2013. He argued the wind turbines should have been moved further from residential properties until more is known about their health effects.

“We weren’t trying to say there is a health impact. We’re saying there’s a potential,” said Peters in an interview.

Peters says he is still frustrated by the experience and feels the project developers and the municipality ignored the interests of the community. Beyond health issues, Peters says his group was concerned about noise and lower property values.

“I just can’t believe that something this massive could go ahead despite the fact that almost every member of the community that stood up and spoke wanted it moved further away.”

Potential health impacts were assessed as part of the provincial government’s evaluation of the project, said Lynch, and the wind farm was approved.

Wind farms have faced similar resistance elsewhere in the country. Earlier this year, four families in Ontario were left with $67,000 in legal costs after losing their fight against the construction of wind turbines near their homes.

The families argued the wind farms posed a health risk but the challenge was rejected in court.

Lynch says the community response to the South Canoe project has been generally favourable.

“People are supportive of renewable energy. We certainly see this as the way of the future,” she said.

“We did see a lot of positive feedback, especially during our construction phase, because the local community saw a lot of jobs and economic spinoffs.”

The developers say more than 750 people worked on the construction of the wind farm. Now that the project is complete, there will be five or six permanent employees on the site.

There are roughly 30 large commercial wind farms in the province, according to the Nova Scotia Power website, although some have a capacity of less than one megawatt of power.

The South Canoe wind farm has the capacity to generate 102 megawatts.
Nova Scotia has legislated that 25 per cent of electricity must come from renewable resources this year and 40 per cent by 2020.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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