"We're just at the beginning of what I believe the potential for wind energy will be," Nova Scotia energy minister Cecil Clarke said when announcing the deal last month. "We need to move from the dozens to the hundreds of megawatts of power generation in this province."
The project will be located next to NSPI's coal-fired Lingan generating station in Cape Breton, a site which Lisi describes as "one of the windiest" in the region. "The reason it was built there, I'm pretty sure, was that nobody wanted to build anything else there," says Lisi. The location is already zoned for electrical generation and has full access to transmission. "All of those factors combined were just ideal for us," he adds.
The wind power purchase agreement is not Cape Breton Power's first with NSPI. The company is expecting delivery of three other Enercon wind turbines in August. These will supply electricity to the utility under contracts signed last year following an NSPI request for proposals to develop projects 2 MW and smaller in size. One of those units, an Enercon E70, will also be installed at the Lingan site, where it will act as a test turbine. The others, both Enercon E48 800 kW machines, will be installed at two other sites in the region. They have also been designated as test turbines, which receive special tax treatment under Canadian law.
All three projects will be commissioned before the end of the year, marking the first installation of Enercon turbines in North America since the German manufacturer resolved a long standing patent dispute with GE Energy last year. Enercon's direct drive technology was a factor in Cape Breton Power's technology choice. "We don't want any gear boxes," says Lisi.
The combined capital cost of all of the contracted projects is C$28 million and Lisi says Glace Bay Lingan Wind Power, started just a year ago, is developing other sites in the region. "Our target is growth," he says. "There is going to be much, much more development in renewables in Atlantic Canada, no question about it."