Nova Scotia

New report finds offshore wind development in Nova Scotia could be a decade away

Nova Scotia is likely seven to 10 years away from an operating offshore wind farm, according to an interim report released Monday.

The five-person independent committee tasked with assessing offshore wind development in Nova Scotia released the report about a year after the group was assembled by the federal environment minister

The interim report recommends no projects within 25 kilometres of the coast and suggests six potential future development areas that warrant closer consideration and evaluation, including portions of:

  • Sydney Bight.

  • Canso Bank.

  • Middle Bank.

  • Sable Island Bank.

  • Emerald Bank.

  • the Eastern Shore.

Nova Scotia’s Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton said the protected timelines are further out than he thought they might be, but he said he’s pleased with what he’s read in the report. He’s hopeful he can issue the first call for development bids next year.

“This is a new industry for Nova Scotia and we have to get it right on the first step or else who knows what could happen.”

Diagram showing six potential development areas for wind farms: green indicates possible locations for fixed wind turbines, pink indicates possible floating turbine locations. An independent committee studying the industry says those areas should be examined for their suitability. (Committee for the Regional Assessment of Offshore Wind Development in Nova Scotia)

The report recommends creating a specialized research initiative to fill in gaps in data and a steering committee to consider the coexistence of fisheries with offshore wind development and possible compensation.

The committee is also calling on the federal government to conduct impact assessments on offshore wind projects until effects on marine ecosystems and the fishing industry are better understood.

As part of its work to date, the committee has met with Indigenous leadership and communities, federal, provincial and municipal government departments, fisheries associations, offshore wind developers and other organizations.

A man wearing a suit sits behind a long wooden podium in front of a screen and Nova Scotia flags.
Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables Tory Rushton said he hopes offshore wind farms will proceed in the future. (CBC)

Rushton said the report shows that concerns people expressed, including the fishing industry, are being taken into consideration.

“There are some encouraging comments that we are getting back.”

The committee is planning further engagement this spring, beginning next month, and is scheduled to deliver its draft final report in September. At that point, the document will be available for 60 days for public comment before the final report is revised and submitted to the provincial and federal governments in January.

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