Pictured is one of two meteorological towers being erected by Port Hawkesbury Paper to monitor wind for a potential 112-megawatt wind farm in Guysborough County.

POINT TUPPER: Port Hawkesbury Paper is continuing with plans to construct Nova Scotia’s largest wind farm.

On Feb. 12, PHP issued a press release announcing that it took “another significant step” in developing the 112 megawatt Pirate Harbour Wind Farm in Guysborough County by funding the installation of two meteorological towers on the proposed project site.

According to the company, these towers will collect wind data over the next 12 months to verify the wind resource at the project site and assist project design, including turbine distribution and arrangement.

Allan Eddy, business development officer with PHP, said sites are selected according to a desk audit of wind resources, using a wind atlas and other reports.

“That level of work had been done previously to the project kicking off and this is the next step,” he explained. “It’s a standard in the wind industry that you have about 12 months’ worth of data from the specific site when you’re looking at negotiations with commercial lenders.”

PHP said positive results from this process could enable construction to begin in 2022. The company plans to erect 28 four megawatt wind turbines, 15 kilometres of overland transmission lines and two kilometres of subsea cables for the development, which PHP said will be the largest in the province.

“Obviously, through this due diligence process, that could potentially grow a little bit or shrink a little bit,” Eddy explained. “Technology is changing so now you’re seeing the emergence of five and six megawatt turbine.”

According to the company, the wind farm would supply power to the Point Tupper operation, producing approximately one-third of the mill’s needs.

“If the farm was producing at capacity, we could always absorb all 112 megawatts and wouldn’t have to spill any of that power,” Eddy explained.

Because the towers are located on Crown land, Eddy said the company has a letter of authority from the provincial government.

“It’s on the height of land across the Strait (of Canso) from the mill,” he said.

On Dec. 17, 2019, PHP, Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and IFE Project Management Canada (IFE) announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing their collaboration.

Since then, Eddy said IFE has decided to step back from the project.

“At that point in time, there was a developer who was attached to the project who’s not with us at this point,” Eddy said. “With the whole COVID and other things, has decided to go a different way, but PHP has carried on with the project.”

With no development partner to conduct design and planning, Eddy said the company is deciding whether to lead the development themselves or bring on another development partner.

“Energy is a very big part of our PHP business and we’re always very concerned to look at ways to reduce our carbon footprint and our energy costs, and green energy is a great way to do both of those things,” Eddy added. “This really is a piece of our core business that we’re looking at.”