Wind Farm Development being planned for rural Saint John, Telegraph Journal – 26 March 2016


article by Rebecca Watson, Telegraph Journal

A renewable energy company in Quispamsis is planning the development of an industrial-size wind farm just outside Saint John.

In the wake of New Brunswick losing 5,700 jobs in February, Thomas Walton, co-owner of Massey Walton Energy Systems, said the plan was mostly inspired by the province’s high unemployment rates.

“Our intention is simply to reverse that issue through green initiatives with locally-sourced contracts,” he said on the phone Wednesday. “With profits staying right here in New Brunswick.”

Walton and his partner Murray Massey, both originally from Quispamsis, started their green-energy business two years ago based on their wind-farm idea.

The plan is to raise a 20-megawatt wind farm, roughly six or seven turbines, that will not only create jobs but supply enough renewable energy to NB Power’s grid to power 8,000 homes, Massey said.

“We want to stop the brain drain that’s happening here,” he said. “We are losing so many talented and young minds to other places because of economic reasons. We not only want to create jobs through this wind farm and other projects we have, but do it in a sustainable way.”

It’s still too early to say how many jobs would be created as the company owners are waiting to hear back from NB Power to determine the magnitude of the project, Walton said.

“In fact, it’s completely speculation until we find out what that is,” he said.

For now, the two hope to gain public approval through a series of consultations they are planning.

Because of a non-disclosure agreement, the location of the proposed wind farm cannot be released, Walton said. “But the area of interest is just outside Saint John,” he said.

Before they can start the project, the two must consider standards set by the province of New Brunswick for wind exploration and also speak with city council, among other things.

Turbines could be installed in a year-and-a-half from now, if everything goes smoothly, Walton said. “We are trying to gauge what the public opinion is right now before we actually take this to Saint John council,” he said, adding this is their first public announcement. “But we have been working on it for about a year-and-a-half, done tons of research and are now ready to do public consultations.”

Phase 1 of the project would include putting up a test tower for data analysis to figure out what exactly the wind speeds are at the area of interest, Walton said.

“Once we gather wind measurements from about five months of testing, then we can start putting a dime on what the project might actually cost,” he said, adding he estimates around five or six million.

The meteorological test tower will help determine the wind speeds and characteristics of the wind in that certain location, which would also be able to show what production targets could be, Massey said.

“The amount of power we would be able to produce in the location, how many turbines we could put up, things like that,” he said.

There are currently three other wind farms in New Brunswick – Kent Hills just outside Moncton, Caribou Wind Park near Bathurst and Laméque Wind Farm in the north.

Having wind power as an option that benefits everyone because if the power goes out wind turbines keep going, Walton said.

“They also supply power when there’s a lack of electricity to be distributed across the grid,” he said. “A more stable flow of energy coming to households in New Brunswick.”