Second green hydrogen project proposed for Point Tupper
A second green hydrogen production plant is being considered for Point Tupper, N.S., and a local resident is expressing concerns about the scale of the developments.
The province approved a proposal by EverWind Fuels last month, and now another has been filed by Bear Head Energy, a company that had previously proposed a liquefied natural gas project for the area.
Both projects propose taking water from nearby Landrie Lake and splitting it into oxygen and hydrogen, and then using the hydrogen to replace fossil fuels or converting it into ammonium fertilizer.
Vicki Jenssen, who lives about two kilometres east of Landrie Lake, said while she's in favour of green energy, she doesn't believe there's enough water for both projects.
"We've had droughts where the bog has been dry enough where people have said that it's a fire hazard," she said. "[It's] very hard to believe that a bog in Cape Breton could get dry, but there you are.
"If these two plants can figure out a way to recycle their water ... maybe the community would be happier, but with global warming and with the droughts we've been having, I just don't think that their water studies are up to date."
Resident worried about potential disaster
Jenssen said it's difficult to imagine how the community could accommodate two large construction projects, each worth more than $1 billion.
"I don't know where we'd put them," she said. "I don't know how we'd feed them. All I can see is acres of ATCO construction trailers out on the peninsula."
Jenssen is also worried about the potential for an industrial disaster.
"If something unfortunate happened, all of our houses are within the radius of misfortune from Bear Head. That is why the hospital is located where it is located."
The Strait Richmond Hospital is located in Evanston, about 10 kilometres northeast of the Bear Head site.
Until recently, the Bear Head site has been the proposed location of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, which received its first project approval in 2004 and has morphed from a production plant to a production-and-export facility over the years.
Paul MacLean, Bear Head Energy's chief operating officer, said under new ownership of Texas-based Buckeye Partners, a longtime supplier of infrastructure for the oil and gas industry, the natural gas project has been scrapped in favour of renewable energy.
MacLean said he understands why some people might be skeptical of Bear Head's plans, given the long timeline of the former LNG project.
"We really wanted to make sure that we were ... hitting the milestones that we needed to hit internally, before we became public in our plans for Bear Head," he said.
"We're very committed, not only to green hydrogen and green ammonia, but very committed to working with stakeholders in Cape Breton and in the Strait of Canso region to develop this project."
In order for hydrogen to be considered green, it has to be produced using renewable electricity.
MacLean said Bear Head will likely draw power from the grid, but the company has plans to build its own wind power.
EverWind also has plans to build up to 300 wind turbines, with construction of the facility to start later this year.
Landrie Lake capacity
The EverWind project is proposing to draw up to 9.5 million litres of water a day from Landrie Lake, and expects to generate 500,000 tonnes of ammonia annually.
Meanwhile, Bear Head hopes to use up to 15 million litres of water per day to generate two million tonnes of ammonia.
According to documents filed by both projects, the Landrie Lake water utility, which services the Port Hawkesbury area, has approval to remove up to 37 million litres per day, and the current demand from existing customers is about six million litres per day.
If both EverWind and Bear Head draw their maximum requested, the total amount used per day would add up to about 31 million litres.
MacLean said Landrie Lake has supplied many large industries over the decades and has sufficient capacity to accommodate both green hydrogen projects.
"It's pretty obvious that the Landrie Lake system can support both EverWind's project as well as Bear Head's, and safely service the Town of Port Hawkesbury and other industrial users as well," he said.
MacLean expects a final investment decision in 2024, with construction starting soon after. He said operations could start as early as 2027.
Nova Scotia's environmental assessment branch is accepting public comments on Bear Head's plans until March 23.
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