Prime Minister Tim Houston says it’s time for Canada to catch up with other countries in offshore wind development, and he wants Nova Scotia to lead the effort.
“Think about the coastlines we have in this country and we don’t have any offshore wind production at the moment,” Houston told reporters following an announcement in Dartmouth on Tuesday.
“I am focused on changing this issue and I am focused on Nova Scotia being a pioneer in changing that.”
Houston has announced the county’s goal of offering leases for five gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030, aiming to support the emerging green hydrogen sector.
For context, the county’s entire power grid has a generating capacity of 2.5 gigawatts at the moment, and Houston said, “It’s certainly ambitious, but it’s totally feasible.”
“We want to make it happen.”
Projects aimed at helping the green hydrogen sector
despite The province continues to follow up on onshore wind projects To help achieve goals of cutting greenhouse gases and increasing use of renewable energy sources, Tuesday’s announcement is aimed squarely at what the prime minister described as a “race against the world” to develop a green hydrogen industry.
Wind turbines generate electricity that is wasted if it cannot be added to a power tank. That’s why green hydrogen proponents support the use of marine electricity to produce hydrogen gas that can be stored, transported, and then converted back into electricity using fuel cells or hydrogen-powered turbines.
Minister of Natural and Renewable Resources Tori Rushton said the province is well positioned in the effort due to its natural gas transportation system, pre-existing infrastructure and natural geographic advantages. Rushton told reporters that attention is focused on the Kanso Strait region.
“There are deep natural harbors, existing industrial spaces, major connections with pipelines and transportation infrastructure,” he said.
Required organizational changes
The county hopes to issue its first call for bids in 2025, but it needs a new regulatory regime provided by updated federal and provincial rules before that can happen.
Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament in Halifax, said the regulations currently administered by the Canadian Offshore Nova Scotia Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) are outdated and should be changed to reflect contemporary energy technology, global energy needs, community licensing and environmental concerns.
Fillmore said the federal changes should be rolled out this fall and could be in effect by next summer, although that’s not certain.
One of the changes would be to rename CNSOPB. Fillmore said there is a good opportunity for the board, under its new name, to handle the regulation of offshore wind development.
“I think they are in a very good position,” he said.
untapped ‘enormous’ potential
David Tim, global head of public affairs for Northland Power Inc. , the Canadian owner/operator of offshore wind projects, said Tuesday’s announcement represented a “great start” to make the region competitive with other jurisdictions already involved in offshore wind development.
“This is commensurate with the scale of projects in Europe that we are seeing and in Asia,” he told reporters.
Tim said the untapped opportunity across the Atlantic is “enormous.” He said the turbines currently being produced for offshore projects are in the 14 MW range and technology is developing rapidly to create floating foundations that will operate in deep water.
“Wherever this industry needs to go and the amount of green energy we need to make the transformation we need to make, we need to push towards those other resources.”
Houston is scheduled to attend a wind energy conference in Germany later this month where it said it will work to boost the region’s potential for green hydrogen exports.
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