Five communities from across Nova Scotia are closer to enjoying the benefits of clean, green renewable electricity generated in their own backyards as the province announced the first approved Community Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) projects in Digby today, Dec. 16. Colchester-Cumberland Wind Field, Watts Wind Energy, Northumberland Wind Field, the Municipality of the District of Chester and Fundy Tidal of Digby are proceeding to the next step in the process. “These applications reflect significant community ownership,” said Energy Minister Charlie Parker. “Once constructed, they will stand as testaments to the spirit of innovation and self-reliance that characterizes rural Nova Scotia, while contributing to local jobs and strengthened economies.” More than a dozen community groups submitted 88 locally based proposals for the unique, made-in-Nova Scotia initiative that encourages community participation in renewable energy projects. The applicants will try to secure financing, develop a grid impact study and complete federal and provincial environmental assessments and approvals. The 2010 Renewable Electricity Plan introduced the COMFIT concept to help provide a secure supply of clean energy at stable prices, reduce green-house gas emissions, and create jobs. The program began accepting applications two months ago. “The province is working with the remaining applicants to complete applications and build alliances among those in competition,” said Mr. Parker. “We aim to have the majority of applications processed by spring, with the next group of approvals announced early in the new year.” “It’s great to get this news,” said David Swan, manager of Turbine Development, Colchester-Cumberland Windfield. “With this approval in place, we hope to be able to begin construction of our project this summer.” Dana Morin, president of Fundy Tidal Inc., was pleased to see tidal technology get a boost. “This is a big day for tidal development in Nova Scotia and indeed Canada,” said Mr. Morin. “The Digby Gut project, along with planned activity in Grand and Petit Passage and FORCE’s work in the Minas Passage, firmly establish Nova Scotia as the place for tidal power research and development.” “This is a fabulous opportunity for our region,” said Warden Linda Gregory, Municipality of the District of Digby. “And it couldn’t have happened without the hard work and dedication of a lot of people. This government has taken a proactive approach to building a cleaner and greener energy economy, and that approach is now bearing fruit.” Town of Digby Mayor Ben Cleveland said building greener communities offers a wide range of benefits for residents, investors, developers and the environment. “It leads us on the path to healthier communities, stable energy costs and a healthier environment,” said Mayor Cleveland. “The Digby area is leading the way in green power generation with our hydro power, wind and now tidal development, thanks to industry leaders such as Fundy Tidal Inc. and the visionary approach of the province.” Municipality of the District of Chester Warden Allen Webber was pleased the area’s large-scale wind turbine got COMFIT approval. “Our project will serve to support the alternative energy goals established by the province and will provide a mechanism for our municipality to generate additional revenue over time for the benefit of our constituents,” said Warden Webber. “We look forward to working through the development and construction phases of the project over the next year.” The COMFIT application process is still open. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the COMFIT administrator at Comfit@gov.ns.ca as early as possible to discuss projects. COMFIT provides eligible groups an established price per kilowatt hour (kWh) for projects producing electricity from renewable resources such as wind, biomass, in-stream tidal and run-of-the-river tidal developments. The feed-in tariff rates were established by the Utilities and Review Board in September. Eligible groups include municipalities, First Nations, co-operatives and not-for-profit groups. The COMFIT program will help the province reach its aggressive renewable electricity targets of 25 per cent renewable electricity by 2015 and 40 per cent by 2020. The province expects 100 megawatts to be produced through the COMFIT. For more information on the program and to apply, visit www.nsrenewables.ca .