Friday, March 1, 2024

EA approval means EverWind could start construction this spring

  • February 15 2023
  • By Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

GUYSBOROUGH – A new hydrogen industry in the Strait region could start to take shape this year.

Last week, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Tim Halman approved EverWind Fuels’ environmental assessment (EA) application for the initial phase of its $6 billion, one million tonnes per annum green hydrogen and green ammonia project in Point Tupper, Richmond County.

The minister’s letter of approval stated, “Following a review of the information provided by EverWind Fuels Company, and the information provided by the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, and the public during consultation on the environmental assessment, I am satisfied that any adverse effects or significant environmental effects of the undertaking can be adequately mitigated through compliance with the attached terms and conditions.”

In a company release Feb. 7, EverWind CEO Trent Vichie said, “As a first mover in Atlantic Canada, EverWind is establishing a globally competitive clean energy hub, unlocking the immense local, national, and international opportunities presented by green hydrogen and green fuels. The Environmental Approval announced today, will enhance the region’s ability to create the first mover supply chains necessary to scale quickly in new markets. Furthermore, it creates the foundation of a new industry in Canada and Nova Scotia that will lead the green energy transition.”

The turnaround from application to approval was quick. The company registered for EA approval for Phase I of its Point Tupper Green Hydrogen/Ammonia Project on December 9, 2022. According to registration documents, the project will consist of: “A 300-Megawatt (MW) hydrogen (H2) electrolysis plant, a 600 metric tonnes per day (MTPD) ammonia (NH3) production plant, a 230 kilovolt (kV) substation and power distribution system (i.e., Transmission Interconnection Line) and a marine loading pipeline for liquid ammonia product distribution to shipping vessels.”

The purpose of the project, the EA document reads, “is to produce Certified Green hydrogen and ammonia to support the global demand for agricultural fertilizer products while reducing the carbon footprint of conventional ammonia production methods. In addition to producing ammonia for the worldwide market, the project will be Nova Scotia’s first green hydrogen and ammonia production facility and will help to unlock the province’s green economy potential, demonstrate the region’s leadership in developing environmentally friendly technologies, and make strides towards building a more sustainable future.”

According to the EA document, “By definition, Certified Green energy requires electricity supplied by NS Power to be generated through renewable, low-impact sources via wind, wave, tide, run-of-the-river hydraulic, biomass, solar, and/or landfill gas sources. As mentioned, the proponent will enter a commercial agreement with NS Power, such that the electricity supplied to the project will be verified/certified as originating from renewable energy sources.”

For Guysborough County, the project, should it go forward, could bring direct and indirect employment and business opportunities as the site is located directly across the Strait of Canso from the county.

The EA document states, “In addition, port operations and related business activities represent a significant source of revenue and employment in the surrounding communities of Guysborough County, Richmond County, Inverness County, Port Hawkesbury, Port Hastings, and Mulgrave…While the proposed project is not located within Guysborough County, EverWind expects positive workforce and business opportunities throughout the region.

“Benefit plans are in place with significant opportunities being delivered to Nova Scotia as a whole, with a particular emphasis on the Strait of Canso Area and the nearby municipalities, including…with the Municipality of District of Guysborough,” read the document.

Phase 1 of the project is expected to be under construction in the spring of 2023 with production slated for 2025.

The news release issued by EverWind stated, “EverWind was the successful proponent in a Provincial request for applications for Crown land and is now exclusively applying for leases on 137,000 acres of land to develop a 2GW onshore wind farm. The onshore wind is expected to power the second phase of its green hydrogen production facility by 2026.”

EverWind has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the province in respect to the lease of Crown land which is predominately located within the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG). In an interview regarding Crown land access requests by green hydrogen project proponents in October, MODG Warden Vernon Pitts told The Journal the Crown lands within the boundaries of the municipality that were of interest to developers of green hydrogen projects were part of the Milford Industrial Land Reserve, located along the Strait of Canso.

Asked about the benefit agreement mentioned in the EA document, Pitts wrote in an email, “EverWind’s current Environmental Approval is for their Hydrogen Production Facility currently being proposed for Point Tupper. 

“MODG does have a benefits agreement in place with EverWind and we are looking forward to negotiating a new benefits agreement, as it will pertain to the construction and operations of their wind farm areas along with other investments within the municipality, all of which will be subject to a separate Environmental Approval and this approval will be open to public consultation,” wrote Pitts.

He added, “Anytime we have developers constructing major facilities within the Strait Area it bodes well for the construction trades throughout the province and we have a fair number of members from these construction trades living and working within the municipality and even more Rrsidents working away. I feel confident that MODG will benefit proportionally through employment, goods, services as well as taxation. MODG has been and will continue to be fully engaged with EverWind and our various levels of senior government as this project moves forward,” Pitts concluded.

According to the EverWind website, the company plans to develop an offshore wind farm by 2030.

For more information on EverWind Fuels visit https://www.everwind.ca.

The environmental assessment report for Phase 1 of the EverWind Point Tupper Green Hydrogen/Ammonia Project is available online at https://novascotia.ca/nse/ea.