TRURO, NS--(Marketwire - Oct 18, 2012) - Earlier this month in a letter to Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Colchester County officials, Millbrook First Nation and Eskasoni First Nation announced their decision to join efforts and co-locate their proposed wind projects that are being developed in Colchester County under Nova Scotia's Community Feed-In-Tariff Program (COMFIT).
Both Millbrook and Eskasoni First Nations partnered with juwi Wind Canada to submit their initial COMFIT applications in October of 2011. The projects have been in development since early 2012. The Millbrook Community Wind project site is located approximately 5km southwest of Truro and was among the first projects in Nova Scotia awarded a COMFIT certificate. Community owned projects then enter into a 20 year power purchase agreement with Nova Scotia Power. The Eskasoni project's COMFIT approval has been slower to materialize due to competition for the eligible capacity, and community concerns that arose through the community engagement process.
"Through community engagement, and our community commitment document, I believe we have taken every reasonable step possible to highlight the benefits of this project, address community concerns and share the economic benefits with the neighbors of our initial proposed project," said Chief Leroy Denny of Eskasoni First Nation. "It had become clear that we needed to seek an alternative which would address community concerns and allow the Eskasoni to continue to pursue environmentally conscientious community investment opportunities."
"As members of the local community, we heard about the concerns surrounding Eskasoni's project, so I reached out to Chief Leroy to see if there was a way we could work together to solve the problem," noted Millbrook First Nation Chief Bob Gloade. "Through our community meetings and discussions with municipal officials, we have received only support for our project location. Having the turbines near the Millbrook Reserve and well over a kilometer from the nearest residence certainly helps."
Under the co-location concept, Eskasoni's proposed two turbine project will be located with Millbrook's proposed three turbine project. Each Band will retain its position as majority owner of separate project companies with two separate COMFIT certificates. Chief Gloade noted, "While we were happy to be able to cooperate with our friends at Eskasoni, we also saw an opportunity to gain some economies of scale. Co-location doesn't just make community sense, it also makes business sense."
Over the coming weeks the local project developer, Community Wind Farms Inc., and juwi will revise the project specific websites, re-engage the few neighbors within 2 kilometers of the projects, combine the Environmental Assessment process, and amend Eskasoni's COMFIT application. "We hope that by taking this step to co-locate the projects and continuing our commitment to engage with the community, the Department of Energy will have the comfort they need to issue a COMFIT award, allowing for the project to stay on track for 2014 construction," said Chief Leroy.
About Eskasoni First Nation
Nestled along the shores of the beautiful Bras d'Ors Lakes is our First Nation community of Eskasoni, the largest Aboriginal community in all of Atlantic Canada. We are pleased to show you our rich Mi'kmaq heritage, burgeoning business sector and the services of our local government. Living here means that we enjoy a rural lifestyle in one of the most beautiful surroundings in Canada. We enjoy a full range of community services and programs under our local government where education, health care and economic development continue to be the priority. The legal governing body in Eskasoni is the Band Council, composed of a Chief and 12 councilors who set policies and regulations under which the Band operates. Council assists the Chief in decision-making on behalf of the community. Elections are held every two years. Eskasoni Band Council, with over 150 employees, administers many of the programs typical of municipal governments such as housing, social assistance, fire protection, civil infrastructure and road maintenance.
About Millbrook First Nation
Millbrook First Nation is located in Truro, Nova Scotia. The community has a stellar track record in financial management, has established profitable business relationships and has ownership and equity positions in real estate holdings and business ventures throughout Nova Scotia. The Millbrook Economic Development Corporation, (MEDC -- a committee established by Chief and Council), is recognized within the broader business community of Colchester County as a valuable and effective business partner, collaborates with the Town of Truro and is represented on the Board of Directors of the Colchester Economic Development Agency (CORDA). Millbrook First Nation continues its pursuit of economic development opportunities and regional growth opportunities that in turn meet social and economic needs of its membership.
About juwi Wind Canada
juwi Wind, LLC is the North American subsidiary of the juwi Group, a major international developer of wind, solar and other renewable energy projects. juwi has been designing, building and operating plants that harness renewable energy since 1996, and to date juwi has installed approximately 540 wind turbines worldwide at 106 sites, producing a total output of approximately 950 MW. The company is named for CEOs Fred Jung and Matthias Willenbacher and based in Worrstadt, Germany with North American headquarters in Boulder, Colorado.
About Community Wind Farms Inc.
Community Wind Farms is a Nova Scotia based company focused on developing community based wind projects across Nova Scotia. The company is working with municipalities, First Nations, community groups and landowners across Nova Scotia to develop a portfolio of wind farms under the Community Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) program introduced by the Nova Scotia Department of Energy.
More information about the COMFIT program can be found at www.nsrenewables.ca