Thursday, May 23, 2024

EverWind begins community consultations, Lincolnville area possible site for wind farm

  • May 17 2023
  • By Lois Ann Dort    

LINCOLNVILLE – EverWind Fuels held a community information session in Lincolnville on May 15 to seek input from community members on its plans for major wind farm developments. It was the first of four sessions this week in areas where the company has been awarded Crown land leases for proposed wind projects that would power the company’s proposed green hydrogen and green ammonia production facility in Point Tupper, Richmond County.

A large parcel of land near Lincolnville is one of three areas where potential wind farms may be located; the other two, shown in accompanying maps provided by EverWind, are located on either side of the Country Harbour/Isaacs Harbour area.

EverWind Vice President of Corporate Affairs Lynn Hammond told The Journal, “We’re at the starting point now around the public engagement process. We’ll have additional information around more detailed timelines within the next couple of months.”

She added, “For this session, in particular, we’re looking at two areas of Crown land that were allocated through the government of Nova Scotia process. Our priorities right now are looking at understanding where people live, where are there any environmental areas of concern, key fishing areas, priority areas for recreation, tourism, where are people hunting and fishing. We want to understand how this land is being used by the community, then that will help inform our planning process. And then we’ll come back early in the fall and show the community, this is the information that we heard from you, and this is the information that we’ve collected through the environmental assessment process. And then present a proposed outline, and then say, ‘Will you look at these locations for turbines. Is there anything here that is a matter of concern or question?’ So, the community will see us multiple times before we submit an EA [environmental assessment to the Department of Environment].”

Lincolnville residents who attended the community information session were generally positive about the possibility of another wind farm in the area. Robert Lawrence said he would like to know more information about the project before he would say he was fully on board with it, but he is in favour of renewable energy to help improve the environment. He told The Journal, “Seems like it is getting hotter and hotter every year.”

Clifford Desmond of Lincolnville said he was reaching back to his high school days as he went through the session’s project boards and their description of the chemical processes involved in the production of green hydrogen and ammonia.

Desmond, who moved back to Lincolnville after spending much of his working life away from the community, added, “It’s exciting to see something like this in the area which is going to provide a lot of different types of fuels for industry, which isn’t going to be as polluting as the fuel we use nowadays. It’s really interesting. I’m on board with it.”

Angus Doane, an environment scientist for Strum Consulting, which has been contracted by EverWind to work on the wind turbine project, told The Journal the three areas in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough have been allocated through Crown lands and agreements with the province for exploratory studies from an environmental perspective.

Earlier this year, the province approved Port Hawkesbury Paper Wind’s environmental assessment submission for a proposed wind farm at Goose Harbour Lake near Lincolnville. The Journal asked Doane how that would affect EverWind’s potential wind farm development on adjacent land.

Doane replied, “When we at Strum do our environmental assessment, we’re assessing both the impacts in the direct area, but also cumulative effects as a whole. So…we’re going to model for sound and for shadow flicker. Those turbines will be included in that modeling from a cumulative perspective.”

Asked how many turbines they would have on all three proposed sites, Oscar Urbina, a development manager for RES—a renewable energy company contracted to work on the technical development of the wind farm project for EverWind Fuels – said, “We need to finish all the surveys first to see what land we can actually use.”

Doane added, “We’re still very much in the data collection phase of understanding what potential impact could be … that includes biophysical surveys across all facets of the natural environment: plants, lichens, water, water resources, fish and fish habitats, birds, bats. We’ll assess any valuable ecosystem component or any ecological components depending on the potential impacts that would be realized by our project.”

Asked if the data collection would include knowledge from the community relating to the local environment, Doane said that there was an aspect of consultation in the type of community information session being held this week, “but within that context we also have to standardize our processes to a process that is in line with the Environment Act from an environmental assessment perspective but also to the desires of our consultations with the Department of Natural Resources and Nova Scotia Environment… I think that anecdotal data collection from any given person’s experience is valuable but it can’t be the be all and end all.”

Asked for an estimated timeline for development, Urbina said, “If everything goes peachy, maybe [20]25-[20]26.”