Days after the Nova Scotia government revealed the purchase of a non-operating paper mill, Premier Darrell Dexter announced that the province will partner with Innovacorp, Emera and CelluFuel to transform the former Bowater Mersey mill into a centre for forestry innovation.
“The former Bowater mill could be left to sit empty, with the equipment gathering dust," said Premier Dexter. “I know there is plenty of life left in this mill, plenty of opportunity to develop new products not yet imagined, and to test and demonstrate technologies that will help bring those products to new and existing markets.”
Dexter says the centre will offer companies a research, development and demonstration site, and provide support for businesses of all sizes to make the most of the province's forestry resources. Alredy, $1 million in funding support has been extended to two companies affiliated with the centre.
Emera has signed on as the centre's first tenant, with a commitment to invest at least $1 million over the next five years. This follows an announcement earlier this week that Emera will purchase Brooklyn Power – the biomass generating station formerly owned by Bowater Mersey – from the province.
“The centre will provide the opportunity for Emera to invest in research and development and find innovative ways for the Acadian Forest to continue to play a role in the Nova Scotia economy and in our clean, renewable energy future," said Emera president and CEO Chris Huskilson.
CelluFuel, a Nova Scotia company focused on commercializing renewable fuels in Eastern Canada and the United States, will also use the centre. The province is adding to a private-sector investment in CelluFuel with $500,000 to help the company deploy technology to turn Nova Scotia woody biomass into renewable diesel fuel.
“We are excited about the creation of this new centre at the former Bowater Mill site and the economic development opportunities that it will enable," said CelluFuel president Chris Hooper. “Having a platform such as this in Nova Scotia is a critical component in the commercial development of clean and renewable energy companies such as ours."
Innovacorp will provide advice and planning support for the forestry innovation centre, and use up to $500,000 in provincial funding to cover start-up costs such as developing a business plan, establishing key partnerships for research and technology development, and identifying partnership opportunities for public and private funding. Nova Scotia Lands, a Crown corporation, will oversee the industrial site.