GUYSBOROUGH – Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG’s) chief administrative officer Barry Carroll is giving the Nova Scotia government’s latest installment of its Offshore Wind Roadmap high marks for recognizing that “we have a lot of work to do if our province is going to be ready” for five gigawatts of new, renewable energy by 2030.

“We’re really happy to see what the province has done here,” he told The Journal Tuesday. “They are laying out a [path] to prepare for offshore wind. I don’t think people really understand what five gigawatts [means]. That’s 5,000 megawatts.”

Stressing skills, infrastructure and connections, part two of the three-part Roadmap promises to “work closely” with local governments and communities to help them prepare for the first call for bids on offshore wind leases as soon as next year. That means “industry, suppliers, Indigenous groups, communities, and other interested parties to determine local benefits models, build capacity, identify concerns… and identify solutions.”

While it did not explicitly state that the MODG would benefit from the new offshore wind opportunities, Carroll was unequivocal: “[We] are in a prime location to become a leader in servicing the offshore wind [industry]… as a landing spot for the power to come ashore and then as the [point from which] to feed it to Point Tupper for the hydrogen industry or, in the short term, to help the [provincial electricity] grid.”

A separate report, released in April, by a parallel provincial-federal initiative was also positive about the economic potential for the area.

“The proximity of the Eastern Shore’s potential future development area (PFDA) to an existing pipeline right-of-way [at Goldboro] provides an established corridor to shore and to a grid connection,” the update by Regional Assessment for Offshore Wind Development in Nova Scotia acknowledged. “The PFDA is also close to port infrastructure and has been identified as an area of interest by industry.”

In a news release accompanying last week’s Roadmap announcement, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables Tory Rushton said, “A strong, local supply chain and robust infrastructure” will be “critical to the successful development of an offshore wind sector. Wind speeds off Nova Scotia are world class, rivalling even the winds of the North Sea where the offshore wind sector started. We’re poised to become a leader in the offshore wind market.”

The report, called for 12 “Early Strategic Actions,” including: assessing local supply chain strengths, gaps and needs; providing education and information on supply chain opportunities; understanding workforce demand and skills gaps; supporting local supplier engagement in international markets; and promoting early business connections, collaborations, and partnerships.”

Key to this, it said, was reviewing “existing port infrastructure” to “consider future demand,” particularly at the local level. “Invest Nova Scotia has undertaken updates to a province-wide asset map of port and marine infrastructure… and will provide the province with updated intelligence to support long-term offshore wind energy development,” it stated.

“Work is also underway… to conduct a port infrastructure study [to assess the] port investments needed to meet… offshore wind requirements. Some Nova Scotia communities are conducting their own infrastructure assessments to better understand how they can optimize their participation in future opportunities.”

Added Carroll: “Already there’s some good building blocks in in our county. We have the location in Goldboro. We have Melford International Terminal, which has a greenfield site that could play an important role. We have a green terminal in Mulgrave, which could be integral piece to servicing and the offshore.”

Still, he said, “We have more work to do, to prepare… There are workforce preparations, wharfing, the infrastructure you need on the ground to support the industry. It is broad ranging.”

The first part of the Roadmap, released a year ago, concerned the regulatory and legislative regime for the emerging industry. The final installment, due out next year, will reflect input from the Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous peoples, as well the fishing industry and other ocean users, environmental organizations, and the research community.

“On the fishery side, we’ve got to work with fishers to see where offshore wind can be located… where both industries can coexist,” Carroll said. “The [MODG] warden [Vernon Pitts] is is right out in front saying you can’t hurt one industry for the sake of creating another.”

The Roadmap is being developed in tandem with other initiatives, including the Regional Assessment for Offshore Wind Development in Nova Scotia, as well as the legislative process to amend the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act (Bill C-49), establishing regulatory authority for future offshore wind development.

By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 03, 2024 at 08:09

This item reprinted with permission from   Guysborough Journal   Guysborough, Nova Scotia
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