AMHERST – A vision first created 20 years ago became reality on Monday with the official opening of Sprott Power’s Amherst wind farm project that’s generating enough electricity to power 10,000 homes.
Company president Jeff Jenner joined Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter and other dignitaries to cut the ribbon to conclude the construction of the $61-million project just outside Amherst that is generating 31.5 megawatts of electricity.
“This is a special day, it day in which we can breath a big sigh of relief that everything came together as we planned to do it. The weather co-operated, everyone pitched in an we made it a success,” Jenner said following the ceremony. “There were a lot of naysayers who said it couldn’t be done, so we’re glad to convince people otherwise.”
With the project going into full operation, Sprott is turning its attention to expanding the Amherst project and two other projects it has in the province.
Jenner said the company is hoping to add up to three more turbines close to the existing project on the marsh through the COMFIT program, while it will also submit an application later this week to the latest request for proposals that could see an additional 15 turbines on the other side of the Trans-Canada Highway.
The company president understands there is some opposition to the expansion, but hopes to sit down and talk to residents to allay any fears they may have of the project.
“The project will be closer to Amherst, but it will still be pretty far away,” Jenner said, adding the company is sensitive to the setbacks and concerns raised by residents. “We have to be sensitive because we want to be here for the next generation and we want to be good neighbours.”
The premier said the project represents the gains that have been made toward achieving the province’s goal of having 25 per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity supplied by renewable energy sources by 2014 and 40 per cent by 2020.
“This is a great opportunity to celebrate a great project,” the premier said. “This wind farm is a magnificent addition to the horizon that greats visitors when they drive into Nova Scotia.”
The premier noted the project has a Nova Scotia flavour in that the turbine towers were manufactured at the DSTN Trenton facility.
“It’s that kind of synergy that’s helping Nova Scotia meet and exceed its renewable energy targets. This development will play an important role in achieving those goals,” the premier said. “Power rates are continuing to climb and more Nova Scotians are struggling to pay their power bills. One of the first things we did when we came to office was to remove the HST from home energy. The key is switching to cleaner, less expensive forms of energy.”