Landrie Lake will be supplying water for the EverWind Fuels and Bear Head Energy projects in Point Tupper.

Two companies, Bear Head Energy Inc. and EverWind Fuels, own land here and have announced they intend to build their own separate, unrelated green hydrogen plants in Richmond County’s Industrial Park adjacent to Port Hawkesbury.

Bear Head Energy, now part of Buckeye Partners, took over the former LNG site at the Bear Head end of the industrial park and has the legacy permits granted to its predecessor. EverWind Fuels is to occupy the Point Tupper end of the industrial park, across Ship’s Cove from Port Hawkesbury, and owns the former NuStar Energy petroleum trans-shipment facility with tanks, pipelines and wharves at the centre of the industrial park.

Imagine the surprise of us Strait dwellers to learn that there are two hydrogen plants, not just one, planning on setting up here, holding open houses, promising promises. Let’s hope that some good things come to individual Nova Scotians, and let’s hope the Strait doesn’t get trampled in the process.

We need clarity from our leaders and the press. Imagine our surprise to learn that our municipal governments, our local radio station, The Hawk, and the local paper, The Reporter, and CBC don’t bring up the two plant issue and the logistical challenges they pose. We are told a lot about green hydrogen.

First off, both plants intend to use the same water source, the Landrie Lake reservoir, for creating ammonia by electrolysis to ship abroad. Landrie Lake is also Port Hawkesbury’s water source.

And then, both plants envision 800 to 900 construction jobs, meaning 1,600 to 1,800 individuals needing housing, groceries and classrooms for their kids. With luck, all construction people live here already. Otherwise, the two companies will have to put ATCO construction trailer camps out on the Point Tupper peninsula.

Also, these hydrogen plants expect that there will be emergency medical service at the Strait-Richmond Hospital, where the ER is not always open, lacking medical staff.

A lot of electricity goes into the production of hydrogen for electrolysis. Electricity is also needed to get the nitrogen to make ammonia gas for export. Will the plants draw their electricity from the grid (Nova Scotia Power)? Will they and partners, First Nations for example, generate their own electricity, off grid? Or some clever combination of the two? We know that the plants will get preferred rates from Nova Scotia Power.

We know that one proponent, EverWind Fuels, just entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the province for lease of unstated acreage of publicly-owned Crown land in Guysborough for a windfarm to produce two gigawatts of electricity for Hydrogen production. Would this and other such windfarms also feed us on the grid as well? Could Nova Scotians hope to get an electricity subsidy or any surplus electricity produced by these private windfarms?

Be comforted that if either plant has a noxious ammonia leak, we are assured that a flare will burn it off while the leak can be sealed.

People in the Strait are not Luddites. We want to get off fossil fuels, we want to join the Green Revolution. Yet here we are exporting hydrogen fuel and leasing our Crown land to private windfarms, with no talk of cheaper power for Nova Scotians. Yes, there will be jobs, for a while, but there are also some big buts.

Vicki Jenssen