Nova Scotia

Brooklyn Energy repairs might not be complete until next year

The biomass-fuelled power plant in Brooklyn, N.S., could be offline until 2023.

Emera-owned plant was damaged in February wind storm

The Brooklyn Energy plant in Brooklyn, N.S., as seen last December. High winds last month knocked over the stack, putting the plant out of service. (Submitted by Simon Ryder-Burbidge)

The biomass-fuelled power plant in Brooklyn, N.S., could be offline until 2023.

High winds knocked over the stack at Brooklyn Energy last month, causing major damage to the stack and a warehouse.

Emera spokesperson Emma Cochrane said in the email Thursday that although company officials hope to have the facility back to full service by late fall, "there is some chance it may be early 2023 before work is complete."

Along with the stack and repairs required to the warehouse, Cochrane said work is also required on the truck scale and other equipment.

"We are not in a position to comment on costs," she said.

The 30-megawatt steam turbine at the power plant has been a valuable market for some area sawmills, including the region's largest, in recent years and an ongoing source of frustration for environmentalists and proponents of renewable energy.

Government pursuing new markets

The provincial government ordered Emera to purchase more residuals from mills and to run the plant more often as a way to cushion the blow of the shutdown of the Northern Pulp mill in 2020. It meant mills in southwest Nova Scotia had somewhere else to send byproducts, such as wood chips and bark.

But using biomass to generate electricity is also opposed by many people who worry that more than just chips and other residuals find their way into the mix, while also noting that the power generated is less efficient than other options.

In a recent interview, Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton said he does not support cutting trees for the purpose of fuelling a biomass plant, but he does believe residuals produced during the creation of forestry products is a renewable energy source.

On Friday, a spokesperson for Rushton's department said in an email that officials continue to pursue new markets for residuals.

The province is not putting any money toward the repairs at Brooklyn Energy, given that Emera is a private entity, said the spokesperson.

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