Saturday, June 22, 2024

EverWind launches county-wide community consultations

  • May 29 2024
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

GUYSBOROUGH — Open houses this week and next month in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) and the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s will ensure “meaningful engagement” with residents who stand to benefit from new energy investments over the next several years, says a senior spokesperson for EverWind Fuels.

“Meaningful engagement with local communities is important to us and these open houses [will provide] a platform where community members can learn about our projects, ask questions and express any concerns, especially in the early stages of the development process,” the company’s engagement manager, Mark Stewart, told The Journal in an email last week.

“It’s also important for us to present the benefits to the communities, including the recently signed community benefits agreement (CBA) with MODG for $1,000 per megawatt paid into community funds and the significant municipal tax revenue associated with this project to ensure transparency with how the people of Guysborough stand to benefit.”

EverWind will hold open houses over the next two weeks – beginning on May 28 – in Boylston and Lincolnville, expanding across MODG, from May 30 to June 5, and finishing in Sherbrooke, Country Harbour and Port Bickerton, from June 5-11.

According to the public notice, “EverWind Fuels would like to invite you to our upcoming open houses to learn more about the proposed renewable energy initiatives, environmental considerations and benefits for communities.”

Last month, EverWind confirmed to The Journal that it had signed a CBA with MODG related to its planned wind farms, with plans to deploy several hundred onshore turbines there. These – along with similar facilities in St. Mary’s and Antigonish County scheduled to become operational in 2027-28 – are expected to produce approximately two gigawatts [2,000 megawatts], developed in phases, for phase two of its estimated $6 billion-green hydrogen and ammonia project at Port Tupper.

“We are delighted to have signed a significant CBA with MODG,” Stewart told The Journal in late April. “The $1,000-per-megawatt paid annually into a community benefits fund represents a substantial win for the community. On a 500-megawatt project, for example, [the benefit is] $500,000 paid annually to the community through the CBA.”

He also noted that project will likely generate approximately $4.1 million annually in commercial tax revenue [for MODG] based on $8,245 per megawatt from sites near the communities of Hadleyville, Lincolnville, West Cooks Cove, Larry’s River, Goldboro, Middle Country Harbour, Upper Afton and South Merland.

According to an MODG council briefing note prepared by municipal development officer Deborah Torrey at the time, “engagement [is] required for EverWind’s environmental assessment [process, which involves] noise modeling, shadow flicker, vegetation… water course [and] surface water management, sediment and erosion control, wildlife management... complaint resolution, the formation of a community liaison committee, [a] Mi’kmaq communications plan, comprehensive contingency plan, and [a] decommissioning and site reclamation plan.”

In his email last week, Stewart said that, apart from the CBA with MODG, the wind farms will create “thousands of direct and indirect jobs” in MODG and St. Mary’s over the estimated 35-year lifespan of the project.

“We feel these project will be transformational in bringing skilled professionals back to the area and contributing to the revitalization of the local economy and, consequently, improved services for the community... whilst playing a key role reducing global greenhouse gas emissions as part of the energy transition... We may not have all the answers yet, as we are still in the early stages of development, [but] we are committed to holding more of these events in the future.”