Construction, operation of Nova Scotia Power's C$200M, 60-MW biomass power plant not expected to be affected by NewPage's bankruptcy filings, as utility vows to complete project, province awards utility access to wood supply needed

LOS ANGELES , September 7, 2011 () – NewPage Corp.’s bankruptcy filings in the U.S. and Canada today are not expected to affect the construction and operation of Nova Scotia Power Co.’s biomass power plant that is being built at NewPage’s paper mill in Point Tupper, Nova Scotia, reported CBC News on Sept. 7.

Nova Scotia Power has said it will complete the project even if NewPage’s Port Hawkesbury paper mill goes out of business.

At the same time, the province of Nova Scotia is working to keep the mill in business, said Premier Darrell Dexter, confirming late Tuesday that NewPage filed for bankruptcy, CBC News reported.

The agreement was made by the province to allow the mill’s boiler to continue operating should papermaking be halted, said a Natural Resources Dept. spokesperson. The province has agreed to give Nova Scotia Power Co. access to the wood needed for the biomass power plant.

A small hydro power producer criticized the province for giving access to its Crown lands to the utility’s biomass power project. Nova Scotia Power has “first dibs on a million acres of Crown land,” said Neal Livingston, who is also an environmentalist, reported CBC News.

The province did not hold public discussions prior to giving the biomass plant access to Crown land, said Livingston, noting that such access was for harvesting 175,000 tonnes.

Today, NewPage announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S., while its Canadian unit, NewPage Port Hawkesbury Corp., filed separately with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, according to a Sept. 7 report by Bloomberg News.

Nova Scotia Power is investing US$200 million in the project and will own the 60-megwatt facility when it is completed, according to a July 21 report in The Cape Breton Post that was carried on IndustryIntel.com on July 25.

A new mandate in Nova Scotia calls for 25% of the province’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2015, CBC News reported.

The primary source of this article is CBC News, Toronto, Ontario, on Sept. 7, 2011.

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