When complete, this green energy project will supply up to 40% of the PHP facility’s required electrical power. The plan envisions delivering the renewable energy to PHP, thereby improving control over the facility’s costs. These measures will contribute to the facility’s long term global competitiveness and sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint. This project is aligned with the Government of Canada's commitment for the country to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 and it will also contribute to the Nova Scotia Government’s goal of achieving 80% renewable electricity by 2030.
Currently, wind offers the most cost effective, appropriately sized renewable energy source available. The project team has and will continue to look at other energy solutions to augment this project, including large scale storage options. By diversifying Port Hawkesbury Paper’s energy mix, the company will be operating in a more environmentally conscious manner, clearing the way for a healthy business that can continue to benefit the region’s economy and provide well-paying jobs in rural Nova Scotia. This project allows us to support the province to proactively pursue green energy sources and help us all move away from using coal.
Approximately $300 million will be invested in the project. The project may also benefit from available government funding programs for green energy, such as the federal Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program (“SREPs”). In 2019, Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), Port Hawkesbury Paper and IFE Project Management Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Since then, CIB has been conducting due diligence work during the project evaluation and planning phase which could lead to an investment by CIB in the project.
The region will benefit from the project both during the development phase and once the project is operational. During its development, the wind farm will generate approximately $300 million in investments, and construction will create local employment opportunities, with approximately 150 temporary full-time jobs and up to five permanent jobs. Direct tax and lease payments are $1.4 million per year but there are substantial economic benefits of the project for the region over and above this amount in that the access to renewable cost-controlled energy will be critical to the continued viability of the PHP facility (including direct and indirect jobs).
We value our relationships with the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia and the various levels of government, particularly in the eastern portion of the province. We are committed to meaningful and open engagement with all our project stakeholders. Our Environmental Assessment, led by Strum Environmental Consulting, has included engaging with Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia and we have been conducting Mi’kmaq knowledge studies (MEKS) in collaboration with Membertou Geomatics Solutions.
The Project site was selected according to the main wind farm development drivers:
The goal of this project is to diversify the energy mix that powers Port Hawkesbury Paper. Wind power is one tool in our arsenal that will allow us to support the province to proactively pursue green energy sources and help us all move away from a dependency on electricity predominately generated using coal. The PHP facility will continue to compliment wind power with other energy sources to ensure the effective and environmentally sustainable operation of PHP.
The project team engaged Strum Consulting to conduct a series of environmental studies, which included surveys of the wetlands and water courses, vegetation, species at risk, and wildlife populations, including multiple species of birds and bats. These studies were completed and submitted as part of the province’s rigorous Environmental Assessment and Approval process.
The lands slated for wind farm development are currently under sustainable forest management license to PHP. Any harvesting required for establishment of the wind farm will be accounted for in harvest planning and accounted for in the ongoing Annual Allowable Cut for the area proposed. The effects of the small amount of land use conversion within the wind farm will be offset by the transition from the usage of a non-renewable production to a renewable wind energy production. Specifically, coal power’s greenhouse gas emissions average between 751 g and 1095 g CO2 eq. per kWh, and wind power’s greenhouse gas emissions range between 7.8g and 16 gCO2 eq. per kWh; this represents a reduction in carbon emissions by a factor of up to 140. (ref. U. N. E. C. f. Europe, "Life Cycle Assessment of Electricity Generation Options," United Nations, Geneva, 2021.)
During the development phase of the project, the project team is prioritizing the use of existing forest roads as well as recently cleared or younger forested zones to minimize tree cutting. Each turbine will require a temporary laydown area of approximately 1 hectare, which will be reclaimed leaving only a crane pad for operation and maintenance, if needed. This will be in compliance with the province’s land usage rules. By using state of the art turbine models, which generate more power per tower, this will contribute to minimizing the total project footprint. PHP will also ensure that trees will be recycled and used as much as possible as part of its paper mill activities.
It is the project team's objective to both minimize and mitigate potential impacts arising from this project. In terms of the immediate environment, the nature of a wind farm is that most of it exists in a vertical configuration which means much of the physical infrastructure exists in the air space over top of the physical environment and in this manner significantly reduces the physical impact to the relatively small footprint of the turbines, power collection system, roads and substation. For our project the additional lands to be utilized by the turbines, roads and substation will be approximately 2-3%of the lease area. We have purposely developed the wind farm layout to utilize much of the existing roads within the lease area to minimize the need for further land clearing.
The Goose Harbour Lake Wind Farm’s layout will take advantage of existing roads within the project footprint, minimizing any tree clearing to allow for wind turbine construction activities. Site construction activities will follow a NS Environment and Climate Change approved environmental management plan. The project team is committed to following best practices with respect to decommissioning and any associated recycling and/or disposal at the end of the useful life cycle of the various farm components.
In addition to minimizing the number of trees removed and making use of existing roads and cleared areas, an extensive Environmental Impact Assessment has been performed prior to construction, which will include commitments for post-construction reclamation and decommissioning at the end of the project life (typically 35 years). A decommissioning plan will be prepared and updated every 10 years during project life. The plan will include the expected dismantling cost, a listing of the wind farm components and their expected treatments (using up-to-date technologies), either recycling, disposal or left in place. Visible components of the wind farm, such as turbines, transformers and above ground collector system will be removed from the site and either recycled or disposed of in accordance with regulations in place. It is expected and common practice that underground concrete structures will be excavated and crushed up to 1m depth and left in place leaving only unharmful and inert material in the ground. No asphalt will be required for the project as road will be graveled. https://cleanpower.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Decomissioning-Fact-Sheet.pdf
The project was approved as a result of the province’s rigorous Environmental Assessment and Approval process. This included a comprehensive analysis of the potential sound impacts of the project. The project team retained Strum Consulting to conduct the necessary studies, which included a sound and visual assessment.
Any residences, dwellings, cottages, schools and campgrounds will be mapped and considered as potential sound receptors for studies. Nova Scotia’s Environment Assessment branch has established a limit of 40 dBA (outdoors) for receptors and this is taken into consideration in the project configuration and choice of turbine locations. 40dB is commonly known as equivalent to a quiet library or refrigerator sound level. The Goose Harbour Lake Wind Farm 's levels will not exceed these provincial regulatory standards. Ongoing engagement and communication with stakeholders near the project area will be maintained throughout the project’s life and all concerns will be addressed.
The project team has identified a direct connection to the nearby existing Nova Scotia Power transmission system which will allow for the delivery of power through Nova Scotia Power to the PHP facility