Offshore Wind – Industry Overview
Northeastern Nova Scotia, Canada, including Cape Breton Island, originally known as Unama’ki by the Mi’kmaq, is positioned to become a hub for offshore wind and green fuels development. The Government of Nova Scotia has set an initial target of 5GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, leased through a competitive bid process in 2025.
Unama’ki – Cape Breton & Northeast Nova Scotia has world-class offshore wind resources, with consistent speeds of 8 m/s in shallow coastal waters and 10-11 m/s in offshore waters.
Proximity to International Markets
Unama’ki – Cape Breton & Northeast Nova Scotia is ideally located along international shipping corridors, within six miles of the Great Circle Route, ideally positioned for the export of power-to-x to international markets. Our ports are more than a day’s shipping closer to Europe than the Northeastern U.S., a key point in the agreement signed between Canada and Germany to export green hydrogen by 2025.
Ports and Industrial Land
Strait of Canso
The Strait of Canso is a naturally ice-free deep water channel separating Cape Breton Island from the mainland of Nova Scotia. The Strait includes a 20 km port area, with a 27 m channel limiting depth and a maximum depth of 64 m. Surrounding the Strait are industrial lands in Point Tupper and Mulgrave, as well as commercial and retail space in Port Hawkesbury.
Key assets in the Strait of Canso include:
- The Strait of Canso Superport Corporation Limited (SCSCL), owns and operates port facilities including the Mulgrave Marine Terminal and Port Hawkesbury Pier.
- Mulgrave Marine Terminal has >18 m of draft at docks, >30 m in the main channel, and no air draft restrictions. It services a range of bulk and breakbulk cargo activities that require warehousing and lay-down area dockside, serving marine construction projects.
- Port Hawkesbury Pier is an L-shaped pier offering 5-6 m depths along the wharf face, with berth space for service vessels, tugs, barges, and pilot boats.
- Point Tupper Heavy and Light Industrial Parks have 2,000+ acres of industrial zoned, underdeveloped land and property available for purchase, with some of the lowest industrial property taxes in Nova Scotia, and access to tidewater, industrial roads, and rail.
- Richmond County Industrial Park has 10 acres of available greenfield industrial land, only 2 km from the TransCanada Highway, with industrial road access for light industrial activities and warehouse storage.
- Port Hawkesbury and Richmond County Joint Industrial Park has 250+ acres of industrial and commercial zoned land available for purchase, situated right next to the TransCanada Highway and close to a wide array of business services and amenities in the Town of Port Hawkesbury.
Additionally, there are businesses in the Strait area that accommodate a variety of marine operations.
- Everwind Fuels, the first permitted hydrogen production facility in North America, operates a marine terminal in Point Tupper with a 585 m wharf, water depth of 30.4 m, and two berths, two breasting dolphins, and 11 mooring dolphins.
- Nova Scotia Power (NSP) operates a marine terminal (water depth 18 m) from their site in Point Tupper, historically used for coal handling.
- Port Hawkesbury Paper operates a 170.6 m wharf with a water depth of 8.5 m, used primarily for handling clay.
- McNally International owns a marine bulk export facility ready to be repurposed with 40 acres of water lots and seven concrete dolphin structures, with a total span of over 335 m, accommodating a minimum draft depth of 8.53 m.
- Cabot Gypsum operates a 338 m wharf with a water depth of 8.8 m from their facility in Point Tupper, used primarily for gypsum handling.
- Martin Marietta Materials handles aggregates from its 183 m wharf in Mulgrave with a water depth of 13.7 m.
- The Melford Industrial Reserve provides space for heavy and marine-based industries. SSA Marine, Melford International Terminal, and Cyrus Capital Partners, L.P. have formed a joint venture to develop the proposed Melford Atlantic Gateway. The project will be a 315-acre, deep-water marine container terminal that will accommodate Ultra-Large container vessels and provide intermodal transport via ship, rail, and truck.
- Additional companies in the Strait prepared to service the offshore wind industry are Superport Marine Services, A.W. Leil Cranes & Equipment, East Coast Hydraulics and Machinery, Mulgrave Machine Works, Horizon Maritime, Atlantic Pilotage Authority, Atlantic Towing Ltd., and Atship Services.
Sydney Harbour is an ice-free harbour in the Cabot Strait on the Northeastern shore of Cape Breton Island. It is a 10-mile-long, Y-shaped inlet, covering 40 km2. The Port of Sydney is the first port of call off the Great Circle Route, with a maximum channel draft dredged to 16.5 m, year-round operational capability, and is a designated Free Trade Zone (FTZ).
Key assets in Sydney Harbour include:
- Sydney Marine Terminal operated by the Port of Sydney Development Corporation. The port has two berths capable of handling project cargo, break bulk, bulk, and fuel; each berth has a vessel capacity of 361 m with depths up to 11.5 m.
- Atlantic Canada Bulk Terminal operated by Provincial Energy Ventures. The terminal has a 356 m continuous wharf space and a dredged harbour to meet the needs of Capesize vessels, 110 acres of storage and transfer activities, onsite storage for up to 700,000 tonnes of bulk commodities, and heavy lift services.
- Novaporte is a proposed 500+ acre permitted greenfield deep-water port. Sydney Harbour Investment Partners (SHIP), Membertou Corporate Division, 13 Mi’Kmaq First Nations of Nova Scotia, and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality are the development partners. The project will be a multi-use hub to facilitate offshore wind marshalling in partnership with Blue Water Shipping, as well as container, Ro-Ro, breakbulk and bulk cargos.
- Novazone (FTZ) is a 1,200-acre, port-side logistics facility ideal for manufacturing, assembly, storage and production of goods, including custom-bonded facilities that allow for goods to be stored and released for immediate transfer to ship, train, or truck.
- Northside Business Park offers 148 acres (18 lots) of municipal-serviced land ready for purchase in North Sydney for commercial and service-related use.
- Harbourside Business Park is located adjacent to downtown Sydney. It is housed on the former Sydney Steel Plant site, with extensive industrial infrastructure present. It is 300 acres with accommodations for commercial, industrial, and office enterprises.
- Sydport Industrial Park is an industrial site on the Westmount side of Sydney Harbour. Spanning 240+ hectares, this working park hosts several fabrication, transportation, and heavy industrial companies, with room for expansion
Additionally, there are a number of businesses in Sydney Harbour that operate port facilities and marine terminals accommodating a variety of marine operations.
- East Coast Metal Fabrication has a highly skilled shop and field crews that provide full turnkey services for any metal fabrication project throughout commercial and industrial sectors.
- Point Edward Marine (PEM) is an operating port facility located in Sydport Industrial Park, with 500+ m of quay and 30+ acres of laydown area.
- Membertou Boat Building manufactures primarily fishing vessels using fibreglass hulls from Samson Enterprises in Arichat and is designed to build three boats simultaneously.
- Canadian Maritime Engineering Ltd (CME) North Sydney Shipyard has 2,500 tonnes of docking capacity, a machine shop, fabrication shop, and on-site machining and repair capability.
- The International Coal Pier, owned by Nova Scotia Power, is currently used to import thermal coal for generating plants in Point Aconi and Lingan. The facility can export bulk materials, as originally designed.
Industrial Infrastructure and Transportation Assets
Northeastern Nova Scotia
- Hydrogen-compatible offshore natural gas pipelines connecting the decommissioned Sable Offshore Energy Project with Guysborough County (27 km from Point Tupper).
- Approved 42” pipeline construction permit in place to connect Guysborough County to Point Tupper, held by BearHead Energy, a permitted hydrogen production company.
- Two airports offering air transportation services – the Allan J. MacEachen Regional Airport in Port Hastings and the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport.
- The Maritime Link consists of two subsea HVdc cables spanning approximately 170 km across the Cabot Strait from Newfoundland to Cape Breton.
- Three coal-fired electrical generation stations operated by Nova Scotia Power – Lingan (620MW), Point Aconi (171MW), and Point Tupper (150MW).
- Active CBNS Shortline operated by Genesee and Wyoming connects the CN Mainline to Port Hawkesbury and Point Tupper. The inactive rail corridor between Port Hawkesbury and Sydney requires infrastructure upgrades since ceasing operations in 2014.
Research, Innovation and Labor and Workforce Development
- Cape Breton has a long maritime history, an experienced and competitive marine service, and a workforce composed of 55,900 people in various sectors.
- Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) collaborates with industry to build the future labour force and develop practical solutions to business and tech challenges through applied research and programs. There are two locations in Cape Breton, with 12 additional campuses across Nova Scotia.
- World-Class Universities offer programs in engineering, technology, nautical, science, business, and sustainability to foster leadership and innovation within communities
- The Canadian Coast Guard College is a national maritime training facility located adjacent to Sydport.
- Innovation and scale-up support in our region is facilitated through entities like the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment in Sydney and the Ocean Innovation Centre (tidewater access) in Port Hawkesbury.
- The Cape Breton Local Immigration Partnership (CB LIP) coordinates regional Immigration Services to support employers in attracting and retaining talent through immigration efforts.
Social Licensing and Community Support
- The Cape Breton Partnership is a private sector-led economic development organization, coordinating efforts from five municipalities and four First Nations in Unama’ki – Cape Breton.
- The Strait Area Chamber of Commerce and the Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce are business development organizations that promote, improve, and protect trade and commerce across Cape Breton.
- The Strait of Canso Offshore Wind Task Force builds support locally for large-scale projects through collaborative knowledge sharing and engagement.
Click a document below for a downloadable pdf.
Regulations and Goals
- The Government of Canada has amended the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act, and the Government of Nova Scotia has committed to introducing mirroring legislative amendments.
- Joint announcement by the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia to expand the mandate of the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) to include the regulation of offshore renewable energy development.
- The Government of Nova Scotia has set a target to lease 5 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030 to support the emerging hydrogen market.
- CNSOPB will draw on existing regulatory experience, technical expertise, and administrative capacity from the oil and gas industry to allow a streamlined regulatory environment that promotes investor confidence.
- Nova Scotia’s Marine Renewable Energy Act, 2015, outlines licensing and permitting for marine renewable energy which can be applied to offshore wind.
- The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, in partnership with the Government of Nova Scotia, initiated the Regional Assessment of Offshore Wind Development in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
- Natural Resources Canada will initiate a regional process to work collaboratively with the Government of Nova Scotia, Indigenous partners, and the private sector to create place-based strategies for sustainable clean energy jobs.
For More Information
Need more information, assistance, or support? The Cape Breton Partnership works on behalf of all Municipalities and First Nations in Cape Breton – Unama’ki and can connect you to the tools or information you need. Contact us today or explore our database of business supports at www.EntrepreneurCB.com.Click here to submit an addition/edit to this page
Last Modified: May 3, 2023