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Nova Scotia Power and NewPage Port Hawkesbury have reached an agreement to develop a $200-million facility to generate electricity by burning biomass. They are planning a 60-megawatt biomass project that could produce three per cent of the province’s electricity to supply 50,000 homes.
This proposal is similar to one rejected by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board last year. But this version is promising to create an additional 150 jobs in the woods of northern Nova Scotia.
NewPage already burns bark and junk logs to produce energy at its pulp and paper operation in Cape Breton. If this project proceeds, the company will use “stem wood,” which means tree stumps, tops and branches will be left on the forest floor to restore nutrients to the soil.
The project will eliminate the newsprint mill’s need for oil and sell surplus green energy to Nova Scotia Power, thereby reducing its environmental footprint. Environmentalists were critical of the previous proposal, saying it would require too much of the forest to be cut down.