TRURO – A new heating system at Perennia Innovation Centre in Bible Hill will encourage Nova Scotia farmers to produce green energy, increasing their profits and helping protect the environment.
The system can burn grass pellets and will serve as a pilot project to show how this renewable energy source can be used. Establishing a market for grass pellets will help spur economic growth and create good jobs in rural Nova Scotia.
"Agriculture is the backbone of rural Nova Scotia, and we need to think about and do things differently to grow this industry and our economy," said Agriculture Minister John MacDonell. "That's why we're helping develop a green energy niche market and giving farmers an option to supplement their income. It's a win-win." As part of government's capital plan, the Department of Agriculture is investing $787,200 to construct a building next to the centre for the heating system. A tender will be issued for a grass pellets supplier.
"With lots of pasture and a climate that's ideal for growing grass, Nova Scotia can be a leader in growing it for energy production," said Mr. MacDonell. "Capitalizing on our natural advantage is the kind of innovation that will ensure Nova Scotia's agriculture industry is strong, profitable, and sustainable."
Nova Scotia has 40,000 hectares of pasture that could quickly be developed to produce 360,000 tonnes of grass pellets per year. This could add about $36 million annually to the agriculture industry.
"At our grass pellet plant in Lawrencetown, we are sourcing local hay, processing it locally, and supplying local markets," said Jonathan McClelland, general manager of West Nova Agro Commodities. "We're creating new markets for small and medium-sized farms while providing an affordable, green heating fuel to customers."
This is the third straight year the province will release the capital plan before the spring budget. This sends a clear signal of what the province intends to do in the year ahead, and gives the private sector greater opportunity to prepare for projects, creating efficiencies and cost savings for the province.