Despite the closure of the NewPage Mill in Port Hawkesbury, NS, Nova Scotia Power (NSP) says it will move forward with plans to build a $200 million 60 megawatt biomass cogeneration plant on site.
The plan to build the facility was negotiated prior to the pulp mill’s closure in September 2011.
“The initial plan called for Nova Scotia Power to fund the project, which would be built and operated by NewPage,” wrote the Chronicle Herald this month.
“But the agreement included provisions allowing the utility to take over the project in the event the mill closed.”
The mill has since acquired new owners, the Vancouver-based Stern Partners Inc., however NSP spokeswoman Neera Ritcey said negotiations are still ongoing to determine how the cogeneration facility will be operated and who would do it.
“There are still many things that need to be determined in terms of various functions of the mill and biomass plant, and these conversations are happening now,” Ritcey said.
The plan to build a biomass facility came as part of Nova Scotia’s renewable energy standard (RES) compliance plan, which was enacted in 2007 and revised in 2010. The RES plan requires electric utilities to draw 25 percent of on their power from renewable sources by 2015.
Since Stern Partners hasn’t said what their precise plans are for the mill, Ritcey said NSP has planned for contingencies should the mill remain idle and that these contingencies demonstrate NSP’s commitment to the RES plan.
The cogeneration facility “has the ability to be operated as a stand-alone,” she said.
The plant is scheduled for completion in 2013, and has the potential to supply up to three per cent of the province’s electricity requirements – enough to power nearly 30,000 homes according to the Herald.