MODG pleased with repeal of “must-run” requirement at biomass facility

By Lois Ann Dort    

GUYSBOROUGH – Last week this paper reported that the province amended the Renewable Electricity Regulations removing the “must-run” requirement for the biomass facility at Point Tupper. The “must-run” stipulation had legally required the plant to run at full electricity generation capacity at all times. This amendment will result in fewer trees harvested in Guysborough County for biomass; welcome news for local municipalities who have, in the past, voiced their concerns to Nova Scotia Power about the impact biomass harvesting was having on local forests.

After the Municipality of the District of Guysborough’s regular council meeting, held on April 13, Warden Vernon Pitts commented on the removal of the “must-run” regulation. “Cutting back on the generation of electricity using hardwood for biomass is great due to the simple fact that using it as a fuel to generate electricity, we are not getting any value added. There’s something wrong with that picture. We’d be much better off to retain our resource. Wait, down the road, something is going to come along; be it hardwood flooring, rails, whatever, hardwood pallets, you would generate more income with the resource and it would justify using it. Justifying its use for generation of biomass to me it is totally unacceptable.”

When asked if he thought municipal dissatisfaction with biomass harvesting in the area had any influence on the provincial decision to scale back biomass electricity production, Pitts said, “I don’t think it is our hollering or our displeasure with what took place in the past; I don’t think that has pulled the trigger at all. I think what it comes down to is a position of economics in this given time in the province. There has been a large outcry to biomass. You talk to just about anyone on the street and none of them are pleased with it. It’s an eyesore and we are not getting any value added.”

In other business, a community-based fundraising campaign has been launched for the proposed Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex in Guysborough. A GoFundMe page has been set up with a fundraising goal of $220,000 for the project. Pitts said of the community-based fundraising campaign, “I think it is imperative that the residents do a bit of fundraising; after all it is their facility. We are going to spend a fair chunk of their reserve in building the thing...I have been talking to various groups throughout the municipality and organizations; they are looking at doing some fundraising. I don’t think that number is going to be hard to hit.”

Pitts said the community fundraising effort would not include corporate sponsorship from major investors in the area such as Vulcan Materials and Pieridae Energy (Canada) Ltd.