Red tape sends PEI Energy Corporation back to the drawing board on new wind farm development

Red tape sends PEI Energy Corporation back to the drawing board on new wind farm development

Building a wind farm in P.E.I. is no longer a breeze

A new bylaw has thrown a wrench into the plan to build another wind farm on P.E.I.

In the fall of 2017 the PEI Energy Corporation (the Crown corporation in charge of energy strategy and development on the island) announced that a municipal bylaw will delay the construction of a 30-megawatt wind farm in Eastern Kings County by a year. The bylaw says that any new wind farm in the county must be located no less than two kilometres from the shoreline, and it can’t be located less than 1,000 metres from any non-participating landowner.

The bylaw has forced the Corporation to conduct new research into the proposed wind farm, which the 2017 P.E.I. Energy Strategy said would be built by 2019. Heather MacLeod, manager of energy assets for the Corporation, says 2020 is the new target date.

MacLeod says the closer wind farms are to the shoreline, the more energy they will produce. Now that the bylaw forces new wind farms to be at least two kilometres from the shoreline, it means they will produce less wind energy than originally expected. It also means new sites must be investigated, something Macleod says the Corporation is working on. “We’re doing a wind resource analysis and looking at three-to-four potential areas that make sense,” she says.

The Corporation already owns and operates four wind farms in the province, including the Hermanville facility (pictured above). There are four other wind farms on the island. In total they can produce about 204 MW of electricity. According to the P.E.I. Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, the province has a peak electrical load of 260 MW. The energy strategy calls for two more wind farms to be built—the 30 MW one now scheduled to be completed in 2020 and a 40 MW one in 2025.

MacLeod says between January and September of 2017 there were four days where the province produced more power from wind than it used. There were 365 hours during that period where 100 per cent of the province’s electricity came from wind. Two more wind farms with another 70 MW of capacity— provided the Corporation can find suitable sites for them—could mean more days like that in the future for P.E.I.

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