When I started this idea, I was thinking it might be a first for Atlantic Canada. It's not. Colchester-Cumberland Wind Field Inc. was first through Nova Scotia's CEDIF program.
It's almost perfect timing to have a discussion on Community Owned Wind Turbines on PEI. The PEI Energy Commission is looking for ideas on the future of Island energy.
My idea is simple. I'd love to see a community owned wind turbine built somewhere in the West Royalty area so that residents can tap into a community wind energy idea.
In August, 2011 the Nova Scotia community of Cumberland-Colchester started their own community owned turbine called, “Cumberland-Colchester Windfield”. The wind mill cost around $2 million dollars and powers about 300 homes. That equals out to be around $6,700 per home to buy into the windmill.
By buying into such an idea, it would allow people to purchase a green energy electricity source. The electricity will then be sold back to consumers at nearly the same rate as Maritime Electric's rates.
The idea of this project would not to be collect a large profit but to pass the profit back to shareholders through dividends. The amount distributed through a dividend would be determined based on the amount of reserves the community owned company would have. Obviously a good chunk of change would be needed for maintenance or emergency repairs.
On top of getting involved in a community owned green wind firm, investors would also receive a 35% tax credit (or $2,345) through the CEDB (Community Economic Development Business) initiative if purchasing in at $6,700.
Alternatively, the idea could go into expanding the wind turbine projects to have multiple wind turbines for other communities as well. This would need to be up to the investors to decide. If expanding into other communities, instead of each household purchasing 1 share at $6,700, the share price could be offered at a lower rate to allow more Islanders to tap into it.
The other issue right now is that Maritime Electric is a monopoly on PEI, except in Summerside. Summerside has a community electricity utility.
I don't have all the answers to this idea, but this is the start to something that could be big for wind energy on PEI.
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