Wind Energy on the Rise: An Interview With Amy Campbell

When you talk to Amy Campbell about her job, her passion is evident—it’s an energy that’s contagious. As our Wind and Hydro Portfolio Manager, she oversees the maintenance at our wind farms and hydro facilities across the province. We asked Amy to tell us about her job, to reflect on Nova Scotia’s wind energy journey, and to share her perspective on what’s next in our renewable energy transition.

Amy at the Digby Neck Wind Farm

 

Nova Scotia’s wind energy generation has grown significantly in the last decade—tell us about that transition.

Back in 2002, we had just two commercial wind turbines generating electricity in Nova Scotia—they had combined capacity of two megawatts. Our early wind projects were small in size, but they helped us demonstrate how distributed connected wind could work—they showed that we could manage bringing an intermittent generating source like wind to the grid.

It’s exciting to see how much we’ve grown Nova Scotia’s wind energy, and how wind technology has evolved in the last ten years. Today, there are more than 300 commercial wind turbines, generating 18 per cent of our province’s electricity.

What does an average day on a wind farm look like?

When you’re working with an intermittent source of energy like wind, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. At our wind farms, we’ve learned to be flexible and to adapt to the local environment. Each of our wind farms have unique weather due to their locations and elevation—it’s often different than what neighbouring communities experience! On blustery days, we take advantage of the wind— when the conditions are right, as much as 50 per cent of Nova Scotia's energy can be generated by wind power. On days the wind is low, we plan our maintenance work, and service the turbines. On a typical day, our wind staff could be analyzing data, exploring new technology to increase output, planning for future projects, or even hosting tours for community groups.

What’s the best part about your job?

What I love most is knowing that I’m contributing to Nova Scotia’s transition to renewable energy. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a student.

In 2010, the Nova Scotia Renewable Electricity Regulations came into effect under the Electricity Act. These regulations provided the renewable energy requirements for Nova Scotia up to 2020. I was fascinated by this in university. It meant as a province, we had to do things differently and plan an aggressive transition to clean energy. I made this legislation the focus of every project and paper I possibly could in my final year of Engineering.

Now, working in wind and hydro has allowed me to directly contribute to meeting our clean energy goals—and that’s an incredible thing. It’s an opportunity I only could have dreamed of back in 2010.

What’s next for Nova Scotia’s clean energy journey? Will we continue to grow our use of wind power?

We’re at a critical time of change in our industry. Our customers want a greener future for our province and clean energy is an important part of that. By 2022, 60 per cent of our electricity will come from renewable sources. The Maritime Link will help us reach this milestone by delivering clean and reliable hydroelectricity from Newfoundland and Labrador.

When it comes to growing our use of wind power, because we can’t always count on the wind to blow when customers want electricity, we need a reliable back-up source. It’s why we’re exploring battery storage. Through pilot projects like Smart Grid Nova Scotia, we’re learning about how batteries can store excess wind and solar power, allowing us to bring more clean energy to the grid when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shinning. 


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