Spanish money flows into Nova Scotia wind project

NOVA SCOTIA - The largest wind energy project developed by a Nova Scotia company is about to take off in Pictou and Antigonish counties, with the financial backing of a Spanish utility conglomerate.

Company executives with Bedford-based Shear Wind Inc. announced that Inveravante had paid $27 million to purchase 62 per cent controlling interest in Shear Wind.

The Spanish company already has billions of dollars invested in renewable energy projects in Latin America.

Inveravante founder Manuel Jove said he was pleased to expand his company's activities into Canada.

"We're looking for some company with a great portfolio of projects ready to go," Jove said through a translator. "We found Shear Wind."

Shear Wind has been ready to proceed with its Glen Dhu wind project for more than a year, but the credit crisis stalled the project last fall.

"We plan to invest immediately upwards of $180 million in phase one of this Glen Dhu project," said Mike Magnus, president and CEO of Shear Wind. "It will provide 120 construction and on-going maintenance jobs."

The first phase will include erecting 30 turbines in the Barneys River area of Pictou County. Magnus said phase two of the project would involve another investment of approximately $500 million.

If both phases of the project are completed as planned, the Glen Dhu wind farm will include between 75 and 100 turbines spread over 10,000 acres in Pictou and Antigonish counties. That would supply enough electricity for up to 60,000 households.

Shear Wind has previously won over angry residents by agreeing to relocate several turbines 1.5 kilometres from the closest home.

The company's comeback is also being applauded by Nova Scotia Power, which needs renewable power from Shear Wind and other companies to meet its environmental obligations by 2011.

Robin McAdam, the vice-president of sustainability for Nova Scotia Power, said the utility has noted Inveravante's track record as a successful international developer.

"An aggressive transition to renewable generation is underway here in Nova Scotia and the Glen Dhu project, providing 60 megawatts of nameplate capacity, will be a vital part of that," he said.

"Inveravante and Shear Wind will be an important part of Nova Scotia's green energy future."


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