Wind and green hydrogen projects saw a sudden wave of interest in Nova Scotia last week, with the province approving 372 megawatts of new Indigenous-owned wind capacity and a private developer seeking a permit for a green hydrogen and ammonia plant on Cape Breton Island.
The news landed just days before German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Stephenville, Newfoundland, to sign a green hydrogen import/export deal just a few kilometres away from the proposed one-gigawatt, 164-turbine Port au Port wind farm.
The five new wind projects in Nova Scotia, equivalent to about 12% of the province’s electricity consumption, are all majority owned by one or more Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq communities, Renews.Biz reports. Each of the projects will receive a 25-year power purchase agreement from the province to supply electricity at an average cost of C$53.17 per megawatt-hour.
That price point “delivers tangible value for Nova Scotia ratepayers, by being lower than the average cost of electricity in Nova Scotia,” the news story states.
The projects include:
• The 150-MW Benjamins Mill Wind Farm near Falmouth, developed by Natural Forces;
• The 23.5-MW Ellershouse 3 Wind Farm in Hants County, a joint venture between the Annapolis Valley First Nation and Potentia Renewables;
• The Higgins Mountain and Wedgeport wind farms, led by the Sipekne’katik First Nation and Elemental Energy;
• The 40- to 100-MW Weavers Mountain Wind project near Marshy Hope, to be built by the Glooscap First Nation and Halifax-based SWEB Development.
Meanwhile, EverWind Fuels has filed for a provincial environmental assessment for a green hydrogen plant at a former oil transshipment facility at Point Tupper, on western Cape Breton Island. EverWind President Trent Vichie said the first phase of the project would convert the terminal to take wind-generated electricity from the provincial grid, use the green electrons to produce hydrogen, then convert it into green ammonia for shipment overseas, SaltWire reports.
Vichie said his company has $1 billion lined up to build the first phase of the project and get it into production by 2025, Saltwire writes. A second phase, valued at more than $7 billion, would add onshore wind turbines and increase ammonia production to a million tonnes per year by 2026.
While Scholz’ tour this week takes him to Stephenville, not Point Tupper, Vichie said the deal between Canada and Germany demonstrates an appetite for green energy projects. “The accord they’re signing signals to us that there is some support for green hydrogen at the highest levels of the German and Canadian governments,” he said.
But CBC says community groups in Newfoundland are still anxious for more information on the Port au Port project.
“We’re not against wind power, wind development, resource development, but we see a major lack of information,” said Paul Wylezol chair of the International Appalachian Trail, a network with 23 chapters on three continents with interest in a section of trail that runs along the province’s west coast.
“We don’t really agree on the location,” he added. “Newfoundland, the island alone, has 108,000 square kilometres. We don’t feel like we should take our best, special places, the jewels in the crown, and develop them. We feel there’s more than enough places that we can do this.”
Provincial Environment Minister Bernard Davis announced August 5 that Port au Port will be subject to additional environmental review, and CBC says Wylezol “isn’t the first person to raise concerns” about the project. Port au Port “is still under fire from residents of the region who also want more information from government and the umbrella company behind the project World Energy GH2.”
Last Tuesday, CBC writes, federal Environment and Climate Minister Steven Guilbeault said the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada will conduct a regional assessment of wind energy development in the two provinces.
“The reality is that we are moving away from fossil fuels,” he said. “Fossil fuel consumption will be reduced by about 75% in the next 30 years. We will still be using oil in 2050, but we will be using far less oil than we are now, and one of the fuels that will be replacing fossil fuels will be hydrogen.”