Nova Scotia

Premier says Nova Scotia will not fund Goldboro LNG plant

Premier Iain Rankin says Pieridae Energy has not approached the province for cash, but if it does, it won't get any.

Iain Rankin says Pieridae has not approached the province for cash

Pieridae Energy wants to build a $13-billion liquefied natural gas plant in Goldboro, N.S. (Pieridae Energy)

Premier Iain Rankin says he supports the proposed Goldboro LNG project, but the province will not give any money to the proponent to make it a reality.

Pieridae wants to build a $13-billion liquefied natural gas plant in Goldboro, N.S., between Sherbrooke and Canso. The company's plan would see natural gas piped from Alberta to Goldboro, then shipped to Europe.

Pieridae has said it is negotiating with the federal government for funding, but the company won't say how much it's asking for. A leaked document that appears to be a company presentation to the federal government pinpoints that figure at $925 million.

A company spokesperson told CBC News on Wednesday that proceeding with the project would be difficult without cash from Ottawa.

The leaked document notes the company hopes to "have a roadmap toward defining federal and provincial government financial support."

Rankin says the province will not fund Pieridae Energy's proposed LNG plant. (CBC)

But Rankin said Thursday the province has not been approached for money for the Goldboro LNG plant.

"There hasn't been a financial ask," he told reporters. "We would not be submitting any financial resources to that project.… We would not be giving them any funds."

However, Rankin said he supports the project because it makes sense economically and environmentally.

"Natural gas is something that is cleaner than coal," he said. "So this facilitates the world getting off coal."

Rankin acknowledged "there would be an uptake of carbon" in the province if the plant is built, but the economic benefits of the project would allow Nova Scotia to spend more on fighting climate change by electrifying the transportation system and bringing buildings to net zero.

Asked whether Nova Scotia would be able to meet its greenhouse gas emission targets if the LNG plant goes ahead, Energy Minister Chuck Porter said, "We're doing lots of good things as we move forward that will show the progress that we have the potential to make in the years ahead."

'We will never be able to reach our targets'

The Ecology Action Centre's energy co-ordinator for renewables and electricity said building a new natural gas plant is not a step in the right direction.

"If we build fossil fuel-based infrastructure, we are potentially locking us into an ancient technology. It's backward-looking," said Gurprasad Gurumurthy. "It's not a part of our future energy mix."

Gurumurthy said while natural gas does burn cleaner than coal, once production of the gas is taken into consideration, it is not much cleaner.

Building an LNG plant will add significantly to the greenhouse gas emissions Nova Scotia is trying to reduce, he said.

"We will never be able to reach our targets in time," said Gurumurthy.

Nova Scotia's goal is to reach 53 per cent of 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and net zero emissions by 2050.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Frances Willick is a journalist with CBC Nova Scotia. Please contact her with feedback, story ideas or tips at frances.willick@cbc.ca

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