Energy Minister Charlie Parker said the projects, in Lunenburg and Guysborough counties, will help stabilize electricity prices in Nova Scotia and benefit the environment.
"These large wind projects will result in $200 million in private sector investments that will, in turn, help us meet our cleaner energy agenda," said Mr. Parker.
The projects announced recently that the province's renewable electricity administrator, Power Advisory, are:
-- a 78 megawatt South Canoe Wind Project between Chester and Windsor, led by Oxford Frozen Foods
-- a 24 megawatt South Canoe Wind Project in Lunenburg County, led by Minas Paper Pulp and Power
-- a 13.8 megawatt Sable Wind Project near Canso, led by the Municipality of the District of Guysborough
"Nova Scotia has one of the best wind regimes in North America," said Mr. Parker.
"The wind itself is free, and the cost of building wind farms can be spread over many years. The result is a stabilizing effect on electricity rates."
The selected projects represented the most cost-effective offers. Their average purchase price was in the mid-$70s per MWh, lower than those in the 2007 call for bids. Nova Scotia Power is a minority investor in each of the projects.
Collectively, these projects are expected to bring total wind energy close to the 500 MW wind threshold by 2015. This is near the technical limit of the amount that can be integrated into the province's electricity grid, according to the 2008 Nova Scotia Wind Integration Study by Hatch Energy. Consequently, the province does not expect to issue more request for proposals for large-scale wind projects in the near future.
The renewable electricity administrator was appointed by the province to call for bids, evaluate bid submissions and select winning projects based on which projects provide the best value for ratepayers.
The process also completes an objective of the province's renewable electricity plan to determine if the utility or independent power producers could build the lowest-cost renewables for the province. The competition indicates a partnership model produces the best results.
The three large-wind projects will help the province reach its renewable energy plan target of 25 per cent of the province's electricity needs met by renewable sources by 2015. The province also committed to achieving a 40 per cent renewable electricity target by 2020.
Wind energy development is one aspect of the renewable electricity plan, which focuses on diversifying the province's energy mix and meeting federal and provincial environmental targets. Other elements include tidal energy, natural gas and hydroelectricity from Lower Churchill.