Chamber of commerce makes offshore wind energy pitch

Iván Barroeta, president of Brezo Energy Inc., hosted three briefings for The Reporter about their Sea Breeze offshore wind energy project.

GUYSBOROUGH: Two representatives with the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce discussed the potential for offshore wind development in the Strait of Canso with senior staff in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG).

Kevin MacEachern (101.5 The Hawk) and Iaian Langley (Atlantic Pilotage Authority) made the presentation to councillors during their regular, monthly council meeting on Nov. 17, that demonstrated there is a major economic development opportunity for Nova Scotia.

Speaking on the potential to develop both fixed and floating wind turbines in the area, MacEachern advised the key piece to all this is to make sure they do it right.

“If we don’t take the time and learn from previous projects, that this could be a disaster for us,” he said. “We do know that wind is going to be one of the major sources of power going forward.”

The prospective offshore wind development proposed by Brezo Energy Inc. is still in its very early stages and the chamber’s presentation was merely to educate council on the possibility of taking advantage of the renewable sector, and what opportunities they may be able to benefit from.

The presentation’s talking points spoke on the supply source, how they would generate the electricity, the trajectory of offshore wind, and what a potential wind farm could look like, to name a few.

“Why we’re here today to talk about this is, if we know we have to fix the power grid, if we know we have to replace the coal-fired power plants, what are the options,” MacEachern said. “The concept of offshore wind is you create the power, then you either move the power to shore as electricity, or you take the power offshore and you generate hydrogen, ammonia, ethanol or other gasses.”

Following the meeting, Warden Vernon Pitts told reporters the chamber was trying to get a regional consensus that this is good for the region.

“Which it would be,” Pitts said. “But we all have concerns about it; you have to deal with the fishing community, because we can’t cut the fisherman out of the equation.”

The warden indicated that he has personal concerns around taxation.

“If it’s offshore there are no taxes,” Pitts said. “To me, that is a concern. You’re using our resource, and I’m not saying Guysborough’s resource, it could be the province’s resource, or the country’s resource, they should be taxed by some level of government.”

He said he guarantees the fishing industry will have concerns over the project as there will be underground cables, anchors and stabilizers, with a proposed location off Sable Island.

“My suggestion was meet with the fisherman first, instead of last,” Pitts said. “Get them onside, because it’s much easier when you have allies going into a battle, instead of doing it alone.”