Nova Scotia Power awards 20 MW of community-based wind energy

The six agreements are the result of a December 2008 request for proposals (RFP) for small, renewable energy projects that would encourage community investment and development.

The small renewables RFP process was designed to encourage small, community-based projects to become part of the province’s energy supply.

“Nova Scotia Power is committed to incorporating more renewable energy into our generation mix,” said Rob Bennett, President and CEO of Nova Scotia Power. “We are proud to be able to work with small community-based projects to bring more green energy to Nova Scotia and create new economic development opportunities in the province at an important time for our economy.”

“We were very pleased to have our project selected as part of this process,” said David Swan, President of The Colchester-Cumberland Wind Field Inc. “The Spiddle Hill wind turbine represents our community’s commitment to renewable energy. We see this project as the beginning of a greener energy future for our region.”

The ten different community projects announced today under six agreements add to the existing 16 wind energy sites in Nova Scotia with a generation capacity of 112 megawatts (MW).

These wind power projects, combined with the five new wind farms (163 MW) committed to be online in 2010, will bring Nova Scotia’s wind energy generation to a total capacity of 275 MW.

These wind energy projects, in combination with other renewables already in place are expected to bring the total renewable portion of Nova Scotia’s generation mix to 692 MW which will produce approximately 16 per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity sales.

Nova Scotia Power received a positive response to the community RFP released in December 2008 and closed the competitive bidding process on July 7, 2009. Proposals for 20 projects with a total generating capacity of 40.75 MW were received.

The RFP was open to all types of renewable generation from wind power to solar energy. The six agreements announced today are all for wind power. Criteria for evaluating each proposal included the proposed price of the electricity, the level of local community support and the strength of the proposed project.

Negotiations are ongoing with one additional community-based wind project. NS Power hopes to announce that agreement in the coming weeks.

An RFP for 10 MW of community-based biomass was also released in December 2008. NS Power hopes to announce the results of that RFP early this year.

Nova Scotia Power will pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the provincial economy in 2010.

“We are hiring more people, employing more contractors and consultants and investing more on capital projects,” said Mark Savory, Vice President of Technical and Construction Services for Nova Scotia Power. “A significant component of that investment is related to our plan for new renewable electricity generation and emissions reductions.”

In recent years, Nova Scotia Power has typically spent about $150 million on capital projects. In 2009, the company spent more than $270 million. The 2010 capital budget is more than $400 million, and substantial capital investment in Nova Scotia is also anticipated in the next few years.

Projects currently under way include wind and tidal power development, reduction of mercury emissions, improving reliability of the electrical grid, a new downtown office building and generating electricity from waste heat.

“We are buying goods and services in communities throughout Nova Scotia at a time when jobs and local investment are sorely needed,” Mr. Savory said.

“As we proceed with these projects and prepare for more, we’re hiring people for highly-skilled, well-paying jobs – including new power line technicians, engineers, project managers and skilled construction trades.”

Capital projects that NS Power has recently completed, or currently has under way, include:

* Tidal turbine test project: Installation of 10-metre in-stream tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy – $10 million, including $1.7 million, 400-tonne gravity base manufactured by Cherubini Metal Works. (Deployed Nov. 12, 2009, two-year testing and monitoring program under way)
* Mercury reduction program: Install activated carbon injection systems to limit mercury emissions at Trenton, Point Tupper and Lingan generating stations – $21 million. (Completed)
* Nuttby Mountain wind farm: Construction of a 22 wind turbine wind farm (total capacity of 45 MW) approximately 20 kilometres north of Truro – total investment is $120 million. (Targeted completion: late 2010)