Nova ScotiaNova Scotia news
Updated: Sun, 13 Jan 2013 18:02:07 GMT | By CBC News,

Ratepayers at risk in NSP turbine deal, says producer

Ratepayers at risk in NSP turbine deal, says producer

An independent power producer in Cape Breton says Nova Scotia Power should not be asking ratepayers to pay for its share in a proposed $200-million wind farm.

Three big companies, including the power utility, have teamed up to make South Canoe project in Vaughan in Lunenburg County the largest wind farm in the province.

Oxford Frozen Foods and Minas Basin Pulp and Power will own 51 per cent of the turbines. Nova Scotia Power will own 49 per cent.

In August South Canoe beat out 16 other smaller power producers bidding to supply green electricity to the grid.

Cape Breton entrepreneur Luciano Lisi was one of the bidders who lost out. He's sore Nova Scotia Power isn't prepared to take the risk for its share in South Canoe.

"They're perfectly free to do it all on their shareholders coin, all on their own risk and rewards. Why are they now going to the ratepayers and saying, 'Hey, we put in the lowest price but really we want you to take all the risk and we want you to pay for it,'" he asked.

Nova Scotia Power emailed CBC News saying South Canoe wind farm will generate electricity at a lower cost than the other bidders.

Lisi said that's because with the Nova Scotia Power acting as a regulated utility in the partnership some of the cost can be transferred to ratepayers.

He said he will ask the UARB to treat the utility the same as its private partners.

"You cannot be fish, chicken and meat all at the same time. Pick one," he said.

In the Spring the Utility and Review Board will decide if ratepayers should be charged $93 million for Nova Scotia Power's stake in the wind farm.

The 50 turbines will provide 102 megawatts of electricity, enough for about 28,000 people.

The South Canoe project has already received environmental approval. The province plans to have 40 per cent of power generated from renewable sources by 2020.

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