Chester and Bowater Mersey to benefit from provincial renewable energy program

by Adam Jacobs

Local MLA Denise Peterson-Rafuse, Chester District Warden Allen Webber and Energy Minister Charlie Parker discuss the benefits of the COMFIT program while at an announcement at Kaizer Meadow on February 7.
 CHESTER - The new province-approved wind energy project for the Chester Municipality was officially launched on February 7 at the Kaizer Meadow Environment Management Centre.

 The announcement, which was originally approved back in December, included a second round of projects for the Community Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) program.

 Energy Minister Charlie Parker was on hand to announce that applications from the Halifax Regional Water Commission, Town of New Glasgow, Celtic Current and Bowater Mersey were approved to proceed to the next phase of development.

 For Chester District Warden Allen Webber the announcement marks the muncipality's entry into the wind energy business.

 "The Municipality of [the District of] Chester had been pursuing opportunities to develop a wind energy project for a number of years with no clear path forward," he said. "The COMFIT program provided the clarity and security to develop this project. The minister and government deserve the gratitude of all Nova Scotians for this significant initiative in moving us towards energy security and environmental stability. This project will benefit our community by strengthening our financial and environmental sustainability. Sustainable prosperity is a challenge for any community."

 For Chester it means the erection of one wind turbine near the Kazier Meadow facility.

 With Minas Basin Pulp and Power Corporation the municipality will build a single 2.3 megawatt wind-to-energy turbine.

 Minas Basin Pulp and Power has been collecting wind data for the past two years at the site.

 The project cost is estimated at $5 million and will generate a positive cash flow beginning in Year 1 of just under $270,000. Revenue is projected to increase annually over the 20-year life of the project to approximately $700,000 in Year 20.

 The power generated at the site would be sold to Nova Scotia Power to be used on its distribution grid at the 20-year fixed rate of $131 per megawatt hour.

 But COMFIT is not just about wind energy, Mr. Parker added.

 "These projects harness the energy of their communities in more ways than one," he said. "Not only do they use local resources for the good of the surrounding area, they bring neighbours together in a spirit of co-operation and self-sufficiency."

 Bowater Mersey is planning a combined heat and power biomass project at its Brooklyn energy plant. The company will install a turbine and generator to improve waste heat recovery from steam generated at the facility. The captured steam can then be converted into electricity.

 The 2010 Renewable Electricity Plan introduced the COMFIT concept to help provide a secure supply of clean energy at stable prices, build support for renewable energy projects and create jobs. The program began accepting applications several months ago.

 More than a dozen community groups have submitted over 90 proposals for the unique, made-in-Nova Scotia initiative that encourages community participation in renewable energy projects.

 The nine projects approved so far will generate about 25 megawatts of electricity.

 COMFIT provides eligible groups an established price per kilowatt hour for projects producing electricity from renewable resources such as wind, biomass, in-stream tidal and run-of-the-river tidal developments. The feed-in tariff rates were established by the Utilities and Review Board in September.

 Eligible groups include municipalities, First Nations, co-operatives, universities, community economic development funds and not-for-profit groups.

 The COMFIT program will help the province reach its aggressive renewable electricity targets of 25 per cent renewable electricity by 2015 and 40 per cent by 2020. The province expects 100 megawatts to be produced through COMFIT.

 For more information on the program and to apply, visit

posted on 02/15/12