PORT HOOD: Representatives with Port Hawkesbury Paper fielded questions from municipal councillors about their wind farm project.
Port Hawkesbury Paper Outreach and Sustainability Leader Andrew Fedora, and Allan Eddy, Manager of Business Development at Port Hawkesbury Paper, appeared before Inverness Municipal Council on Oct. 7 to provide an update about their plans to construct the Pirate Harbour Wind Farm in Guysborough County.
Fedora told council Port Hawkesbury Paper has updated woodlands policies regarding inquiries and complaints, as well as policies incorporating community, economic, environmental, or cultural values into forest management plans. He directed the public to their website for more information.
“In the coming weeks, we’re going to be releasing on online survey that people can fill out,” he said. “Based on those data sets, we’re going to look at what are the major concerns in the communities, and what are the values?”
Eddy said the wind farm is “beginning to advance,” and within the next year, the company will start the community consultation process.
To handle the wind project, Eddy said the new company Port Hawkesbury Paper Wind has been incorporated.
In January, Eddy said two towers were erected to gather data.
“For a project like this, you need about 12 months of physical data that you gather on closed sites, before you can go to the commercial interests around financing,” he explained. “What this does is help you to understand how to get the most energy from that site; what size turbines, where they need to be located.”
As part of their due diligence, Eddy said they reached a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and engaged an experienced industry executive to be their technical director. He said the company has also incorporated Aboriginal concerns and interests into the project.
Eddy said they’re proposing a 130 megawatt wind farm located across the Strait of Canso from Point Tupper, and as a “Behind the Meter” customer, the power generated will go directly to the mill, providing 40-50 per cent of the energy PHP would require.
“It has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of other energy we need to draw from the grid,” Eddy
The environmental assessment process is underway, Eddy said, noting that last spring, they engaged a company to start migratory bird and nesting bird surveys, and in June released the contract for the environmental assessment work.
In response to a question from District 4 Councillor John MacLennan, Eddy said they are planning to erect between 28 and 32 turbines, depending on the size and generating capacity of each turbine.
“We’re pushing to have this in service as soon as possible, of course, but having said that, that’s a couple of years out, ” Eddy said of the project timeline.
In response to a question from District 6 Councillor Catherine Gillis, Eddy said the project is located on Crown land which will require final approval from the Province of Nova Scotia. To erect the towers gathering data, he said they had to get a Letter of Authority from the province.
When asked by District 5 Councillor Lynn Chisholm what type of jobs would be created by the farm, Eddy said most employment would be created during the construction phase.
Calling it a “great project,” Warden Laurie Cranton said he supports the company’s efforts to be “up front” about any effects on the environment and public.
“The energy you people use, will cut back on the energy Nova Scotia Power requires,” he added.