Nova Scotia community works to implement biomass district heating

By Erin Voegele | June 21, 2022

Natural Resources Canada on June 6 announced a $515,000 investment in TorchLight Bioresources to support a feasibility study on a proposed district heat network in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, that would be fueled with biomass and wind energy.

The proposed system would connect more than 90 percent of the buildings in New Glasgow, a community located near the northern coast of Nova Scotia south of Prince Edward Island. According to Natural Resources Canada, the system would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and heating costs while helping to create new jobs, support local forestry, and grow the local economy.

The proposed project would be fueled with locally sourced forest biomass from sawmills or from sustainable forest management activities. When fully operational, the system would consume between 50,000 and 100,000 metric tons of biomass annually.

A masterplan for the proposed project is expected to be complete in spring 2023, according to the Heat New Glasgow website. The project will be completed in phases, with the initial focus on the downtown area and larger buildings. The heating system would then be built out in phases.

The feasibility study will also determine if its technically and economically viable to incorporate wind power as a secondary heat source for the district heating network. The wind turbines would power a large-scale industrial heat pump. When heat is not needed, the power could be sold to the grid.

Federal funding for the feasibility study is being provided by Natural Resources Canada’s Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways program. The Town of New Glasgow, Torchlight Bioresources, Rathco, the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners and ACFOR are also contributing to the project, bringing the total investment to $755,000.

Additional information is available on the government of Canada website