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N.S. wind atlas goes online

Nova Scotia property owners considering wind turbines for their land can use a new online wind atlas to rate their site’s potential.

Researchers from Universite de Moncton and the applied geomatics research group at Nova Scotia Community College developed the wind data last year. Since then, staff in the research group have worked to overlay the data, colour-coded by wind velocity, on Google Maps of the province.

Users can zoom in as close as 200 metres to a specific location, the province said. The site allows users to switch their views to see the wind speeds at one of three different altitudes: 30, 50 or 80 metres above ground.

“Wind speeds are generally faster at greater heights, and this online atlas lets you interactively explore the great wind power potential that exists in Nova Scotia,” said David Colville, NSCC’s lead researcher on the project, in a release Wednesday from the provincial energy department.

Zooming out to a full view of the province shows the highest wind velocities at any altitude to be most concentrated on the province’s southwest coast, around Yarmouth and Digby Neck, and on its northern coast in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

“The wind atlas shows us how much wind is available, and where to find it,” said Universite de Moncton project lead Yves Gagnon. “It’s a great resource for local entrepreneurs, small businesses, community groups, co-operatives and individuals who might not have the resources to do this kind of mapping on their own.”

Energy Minister Richard Hurlburt said in the release that the government expects to see the number of wind turbines in Nova Scotia increase from 40 to over 300 by 2013 as new provincial regulations take effect.

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