Eastern Kings Wind Farm
Eastern Kings Wind Farm[i]
In 2005, it was decided that Eastern Kings would be home to the next wind farm on Prince Edward Island. Within the community, East Point was the optimal place to install the new mills because it had strong, continually blowing wind. However, studies had to be done on migratory bird patterns at the sight before construction could be considered.
Bird Studies Canada from Moncton, New Brunswick assessed the environmental impact on the area for several months. The Department of Environment had the final say on where the sight could be located. It was evident that windmills couldn't be erected at East Point because the location would be devastating for migrating birds.
On Saturday, July 21st, 2006, approval was received for the North Lake ridge location. On Monday morning, construction workers started their bulldozers and began building roads at the new farm. In September, a freighter crossed the Atlantic from Denmark with a payload destined for Eastern Kings. Docking in Souris Harbour, 30 components for the farm were unloaded, stored in the town for several weeks, then slowly trucked east to North Lake.
At North Lake, version 5 of the V90 turbine was rolled-out, the largest wind mills in North America. V stands for Vestas, the company that built the mills, and 90 stands for 90-meters, the rotor diameter of the blades. In comparison, the farm at North Cape are 47 meters in diameter. The V90s are capable of producing 3-megawatts each, meaning the ten mills at North Lake provide about 9% of the Island's electrical supply; or enough electricity to supply 12,000 homes.
In a year, the wind farm produces between 90 and 95 million kilowatt hours of green energy; enough to displace 70,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
As the wind farm was under construction, Maritime Electric built 44kms of transmission lines to carry energy from the sight to a substation at Dingwell's Mills.
It was estimated that construction of the farm would cost $55 million. However, after the farm was complete and green power was being generated, the final cost was $47 million.
In February, 2010, the Prince Edward Island Green Energy Corporation proposed installing 28 turbines at the Eastern King's Wind Farm. A community meeting was held. Maritime Electric said community support in the project was a large factor that was needed before they could award any tenders.
One hundred people attended. Sixty-four people opposed the project and forty-five people supported it. The community council sided with the majority, and the new wind project was abandoned.