Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Landfall for offshore wind energy not decided

Industry urges broad, extensive consultations

  • March 13 2024
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

GUYSBOROUGH — The Department of Natural Resources and Renewables (NRR) will not confirm that it plans to use the former Sable natural gas corridor, with landfall at Goldboro in eastern Guysborough County, to bring offshore wind energy into the province.

In an email to The Journal last week, NRR spokesperson Patricia Jreige said, “To be clear, the province has not yet identified areas for offshore wind and there has been no call for proposals or projects approved. We expect our first call for bids to be in 2025.”

Jreige was responding to a recent statement by the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG’s) economic development staff that, “A majority of the 5GW of offshore wind development is expected to occur off the coast of Eastern Nova Scotia, and landfall is expected in Goldboro, NS, through a recently decommissioned natural pipeline corridor ... MODG is positioned to be a regional leader for offshore wind development.”

The statement was contained in a briefing note to MODG council following a municipally led fact-finding mission (Jan. 27-Feb. 1) of public and private-sector representatives from the province to offshore wind projects in the United Kingdom.

In her email, Jreige said, “The Municipality of the District of Guysborough ... invited us to join the delegation to learn how offshore wind is being developed in the UK ... [They] are doing a lot of research on the opportunities in their area ... The trip highlighted the fact that there is a lot of work to do still, and the diverse opportunities for Nova Scotia. It was helpful for this group to learn together so we continue collaborating to develop this industry in Nova Scotia.”

She added: “Offshore wind is an important part of our clean energy plan. In 2022, we announced our goal of offering licences for five gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 ... The first module of our Offshore Wind Roadmap in 2023 ... sets Nova Scotia’s vision for offshore wind and outlines the regulatory path for businesses to invest in projects. The next modules will be released later this year. The roadmap is a starting point and Nova Scotia needs to be adaptive and flexible in its early stages to make sure we maximize long term benefits.”

The province is working with the federal government on a comprehensive regional assessment of the industry’s potential – a process that started with extensive public consultations in Guysborough last October and has since traveled to coastal communities across Nova Scotia. This assessment, Jreige said, “will help inform decisions” about the regulatory framework.

“We encourage Nova Scotians to participate and share their input. There were sessions around the province in the fall and there will be more as we ramp up engagements with the various communities, including fishers, First Nations, etc. over the next few years to make sure this new industry builds a solid foundation.”

In its briefing note, MODG stated that it will “strive to grow the industry in a way that sustainably benefits our residents, works with existing industry including fisheries, while creating jobs, strengthening the GDP and contributing to the global demand for green energy.”

Extension and broad consultation with all who may be affected by the new industry in eastern Nova Scotia is crucial, according to Ginny Boudreau, manager of the Guysborough County Inshore Fishermen’s Association.

“I represent all the fishermen in Guysborough County,” she told The Journal last week. “The implications of this [offshore wind development] affects everything from the Strait of Canso to the Goldboro area, including port development. It’s going to impact all harvesters from Canso, to Whitehead, to Ecum Secum. Guysborough County fishermen are going to feel the impact of all of that collectively.”