Fredericton’s Atlantic Hydrogen poised to green Nova Scotia Power plant

Fredericton’s Atlantic Hydrogen poised to green Nova Scotia Power plant

Published Thursday November 26th, 2009
Rebecca Penty, Telegraph Journal
Click here to view article at telegraphjournal.com

The president and chief executive officer of Nova Scotia Power Inc. says government regulations are behind the push to develop renewable power projects at his utility.Rob Bennett told an industry conference that for the Bluenose power corporation and its parent company Emera Inc. (TSX:EMA), expansion of biomass, wind and tidal power sources as well as the greening of coal-fired plants is being done to meet increasingly stringent requirements put in place by policy makers.

“In Nova Scotia and in many of the jurisdictions we operate in, that growth is coming not because of choices we're making as a business, but because of regulations that are coming through government guidance,” Bennett told Scotia Capital Inc.'s annual Bioenergy Day Conference in Toronto; the message was simultaneously webcast online.

“At Nova Scotia Power, for example, there's a tremendous push on to increase the amount of renewable energy that's available on the power network in our province,” he said.

Last July, the new NDP government in Nova Scotia announced its intention to have 25 per cent of the province's electricity generated by renewable sources by 2015, which moved the target set by the previous Conservative government ahead by five years.

In New Brunswick, the government's commitment is to increase the amount of electricity from new renewable sources in New Brunswick to 10 per cent of total use by 2016; 23 per cent of the current electricity consumed in New Brunswick comes from hydro and wood renewable sources, according to the Department of Energy.

Nova Scotia, which relies heavily on coal-fired facilities for power, is eyeing material from the forests to convert fuel at facilities from fossil to biomass – considered renewable.

“Biomass in our coal plants is as simple as wood chips, not pelletized as we've discussed, but chips that are available in our forests in Nova Scotia, we believe in adequate abundance to fuel about 10 per cent of the needs of our coal-fired plants,” Bennett said.

The utility's Point Aconi thermal generation station, which uses unique fluidized circulating bed technology, could be fuelled 100 per cent by biomass, the executive said.

Bennett said Nova Scotia Power is also aggressive on tidal power, demonstrated by the decision to have a one-megawatt commercial scale turbine designed by Ireland's OpenHydro Group Ltd. deployed in the Minas Passage near Black Rock, N.S., two weeks ago.

“The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world and since it's in Nova Scotia's backyard it's a wonderful opportunity for us to test that technology,” Bennett said.

The utility is looking to develop wind projects, too, including a $120-million 45-megawatt wind farm at Nuttby Mountain.

“We expect the regulator to decide on that project in December and we will be continuing with the development of that site into next year,” Bennett said.

The utility is working to capture carbon from its emissions and also use waste fuels for power, too, Bennett said.

Emera has investments in Fredericton's Atlantic Hydrogen Inc, which has patented technology to remove carbon from natural gas.

“We hope to develop a commercial scale opportunity to demonstrate that at one of our natural gas turbines that we own in Nova Scotia,” Bennett said.

Last July, Emera bought up more than 25 per cent of the company, Atlantic Hydrogen president and CEO David Wagner said at the time.

Nova Scotia Power is also currently using waste fuels from Dartmouth's Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd. – which produces Omega-3 food additives from fish products – to partially fuel the utility's Point Tupper plant.

“Today we're taking about two tanker loads a week of this fuel and using that in this plant,” Bennett said.

“There's energy everywhere that we need to be looking at and taking advantage of if we're going to be meeting the renewable energy objectives of this country and our province.”

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