Port Hawkesbury Paper, through its sister organization, Port Hawkesbury Paper Wind (PHP Wind), is building a wind project, known as the Goose Harbour Lake Wind Farm, located on lands in Guysborough County that are currently under license to Port Hawkesbury Paper for approved sustainable forest management. This project represents another step towards securing the long-term viability of one of the largest industrial employers in Nova Scotia. The Goose Harbour Lake Wind Farm Project will contribute to the environmental, economic, and social objectives of Port Hawkesbury Paper facility’s operations, as the project will reduce the carbon footprint of the provincial power supply and corresponding greenhouse gas emissions.
When complete, this green energy project will have an annual capacity equivalent to more than 40 per cent of PHP's required electrical power demand. This will further contribute to Port Hawkesbury Paper’s long term global competitiveness and support its sustainability objectives.
By diversifying Nova Scotia’s electricity supply, PHP and all other rate papers will be operating with a cleaner energy mix, continually improving a local business that will continue to benefit the region's economy and provide well-paying jobs in rural Nova Scotia. The Port Hawkesbury Paper facility, which celebrated ten years of successful operations in Nova Scotia in 2022, directly employs approximately 325 people, and positively impacts another 900 indirect jobs, employing hundreds of forestry contractors and suppliers (source: 2018 Economic Impact Study).
The project lands are currently under sustainable forest management license to Port Hawkesbury Paper to support the success of the paper-making business. A separate lease will be required for the construction and operation of the wind farm and this lease application process is underway. The wind farm will consist of up to 31 wind turbines (*depending on the final selection of wind turbine technology).
Since 2019, when the company first announced plans for this project, primary project development activities got underway to assess the wind resource and support the necessary consenting and permitting processes. These activities have advanced through the province’s Environmental Assessment and Approval process (EA process), which was approved by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in March 2023, as well as Nova Scotia Power’s transmission system interconnection process. As part of the advancing the project, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewables (NRR) issued a letter of authority (LOA) to undertake a geotechnical investigation program which occurred over the summer months (2023). The team was able to gather soil and rock information to complete the wind turbine foundation designs and site configuration. This included minimal tree clearing and up to 31 boreholes of varying distances to determine depth of bedrock.
Various environmental studies pertaining to wind patterns, wildlife (e.g. birds, bats and moose), noise, and water, which were initiated as part of the EA submission, are ongoing to better everyone's understanding using the data that is being captured and analyzed. As per Provincial regulations for wind facilities, the noise within the vicinity of the turbines will be less than the equivalent of a refrigerator (40 dB).
To provide access to the site for transportation of components and ongoing maintenance once the facility is constructed, transportation routes being planned for the turbines will minimize impacts (especially to major roadways) in a way that is most cost effective. We plan to clear the turbine sites during fall / winter (2023-24) and start upgrading the forestry roads in 2024.
The Goose Harbour Lake Wind Farm project team has developed a stakeholder engagement strategy in collaboration with PHP and has been actively reaching out and meeting with those who have an interest or stake in the success of this project and the sustainability of the Port Hawkesbury Paper facility. This includes engagement with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia and various local organizations and communities. As a result of the EA approval, the project team has developed a communications plan which includes continued meetings and outreach with members of the Mi'kmaq communities, ensuring updates are posted to the website and the development of other materials for sharing. The team is also undertaking additional field studies and a mainland moose monitoring plan, as suggested by KMKNO – the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative).
A project-specific Community Liaison Committee (CLC) has also been established with a specific focus on Guysborough County.
See Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQ") section for further details.
This project is a key element of adding new renewable energy sources to the many solutions our province requires; it fully supports the provincial goal of phasing out of coal and getting to 80% renewables by 2030. In combination with our modern production facility in Port Hawkesbury and our sustainable forest management practices, this project allows us to support the Province to proactively pursue green energy sources and help us all move away from using coal for energy production.
In 2022, the Province of Nova Scotia announced the Rate Base Procurement (RBP) process, aiming to attract low-cost and innovative solutions to procure a total of 350 MW of renewable electricity. Given that the Goose Harbour Lake Wind Farm development process was well underway, it has proceeded outside of the RBP process, with no negative or competitive impact, all while timely contributing to the province’s effort to meet its climate and carbon targets.