Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise in the House to say a few words on behalf of the people in my riding, Halifax West.
Bill C-49 would modernizes the mandates of the offshore boards, including Nova Scotia's, to unlock the full potential of offshore renewable energy.
Just two years ago, the Nova Scotia government announced its intention to stop using coal to generate electricity by the year 2030, shortening its deadline by a decade. It also set an ambitious target of having 80% of its electricity sourced from renewable energy in the same timeframe. It recently amended Nova Scotia's electricity act so that the province could issue requests for proposals and contracts for things like large-scale batteries and renewable energy storage solutions.
Offshore wind and hydrogen have been identified as a priority for Nova Scotia. The province's government has indicated to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources that it wants Bill C-49 passed without delay.
The province has already officially said that it wants to launch a competition in 2025 for offshore land leases, with the intent of getting enough turbines in place to produce five gigawatts of power. That is enough energy for roughly 1.5 million homes.
The provinces joined the Regional Energy and Resource Tables, which will help them identify funding and financing opportunities in low-carbon energy sectors and optimize their policies and regulatory approaches.
With a greener future, less severe weather and job creation as their north star, Nova Scotians have already begun unlocking the economic opportunities that come with expanding Canada's renewable energy sector.
That is why I support making amendments to the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador accord, so we can facilitate the launch of wind energy projects off our shores, a whole new renewable energy industry for Canada.
I am going to focus on why these amendments make so much sense for the province of Nova Scotia. As a former minister in Nova Scotia, I know how important it is for our levels of government to work together to achieve great things, such as capitalizing on Nova Scotia's incredible potential.
In Nova Scotia, we have some of the best and most consistent wind speeds in the world that provide world-class conditions for offshore wind projects. Of course, Nova Scotians are already very familiar with technology used to harness wind power.
Almost 15% of our province's power comes from our 300-plus wind turbines, making Atlantic Canada a provincial leader in wind power generation. It is truly inspiring.
The initial work is already happening. This March, Nova Scotia's provincial government teamed up with the federal government to launch a regional assessment of offshore wind development off the coast of Nova Scotia. The assessment seeks input from indigenous groups and a range of stakeholders. Independent committee members have a year and a half to report back to governments on their work, which will include analyzing future development opportunities and the potential socio-economic, health and environmental impacts of offshore wind development.
The proposed amendments to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act are about ensuring that future offshore wind projects are subject to the highest possible environmental and safety standards, under the guidance of an independent expert regulator.
The act was put in place in the 1980s and provided a solid base for today's offshore regime. The act set up the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and it made Nova Scotia an equal partner with Canada, allowing it to jointly govern offshore oil and gas-related activity while sending proceeds back to the province.
Since the act was passed in the 1980s, we took the opportunity to make some much-needed changes to ensure that we are keeping up with modern technology and international best practices.
For example, we are updating the offshore petroleum board's land tenure regime. We are limiting the term of a significant discovery license to 25 years. This will ensure that these licences cannot be held forever, which is currently the case.
To make the regulation of future offshore wind projects as efficient as possible, we are proposing that the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board's responsibilities be broadened to include renewable energy, such as offshore wind.
It makes sense that a board that is already so familiar with the offshore, its legislation and its management be given this job. It gives these projects more stability and makes them more desirable to the companies that are considering investing in offshore wind and other renewable energy sources.
The board understands the challenges of operating in a difficult offshore environment, and it has decades of experience in safety and environmental standards, oversight and review procedures.
The renamed Canada-Nova Scotia offshore energy regulator will undergo a significant transition as its duties expand. It will regulate the entire life cycle of offshore wind and other renewable energy projects from site assessment to decommissioning.
The board already ensures that offshore projects are operating safely and protecting the environment. Specifically, the boards are in charge of land tenure, including licensing, providing offshore authorization and approval, monitoring compliance with the accord and carrying out enforcement activities.
With these amendments in place, the board will administer the governance framework jointly created by both federal and provincial governments and ensure the best practices in land rights management are being employed, specifically in the areas of how the land will be used, project bidding procedures, determining how to evaluate bids and granting licences for commercial projects.
A regional assessment of the suitability of the offshore wind around Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia has officially begun. These regional assessments are getting input from indigenous people, the fishing industry, experts on environmental issues and others. They will also inform the project-specific assessments carried out by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.
It is clear that developers are interested in making offshore wind a reality. Some have expressed interest in developing offshore wind projects. Others want to get in on related facilities like on-land turbine staging sites and plants for producing hydrogen and ammonia.
For example, the enterprise Brezo Energy is developing a technology for a floating offshore wind project, and it says Nova Scotia is a perfect fit for them.
Another company called Novaporte has promised that shovels will be in the ground this year for an offshore wind marshalling yard in Sydney, where turbines will be stored and assembled.
Nova Scotia has already approved two large-scale green hydrogen electrolysis and ammonia production plants along the Strait of Canso. This aligns well with the proposed Atlantic loop that will provide the backbone for an interconnected Atlantic power grid. The loop will make it easier for neighbouring provinces to trade clean electricity and enable critical load balancing.
Last, with these amendments, we will be making marine conservation tools stronger, and we are improving the alignment of the accord acts and the impact assessment act.
This bill is a great move. It makes sense. We cannot fail to attract Canada's share of the forecasted $1 trillion in global investment in offshore wind by 2040, and it requires regulatory certainty. It would make Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador global leaders in hydrogen exports, a source of secure energy that we know Europe needs. It would create well-paying jobs for Canada's highly skilled energy workers.
These amendments are an essential part of our broader climate plan, and they will help bring our emissions down, making Canada more competitive, and stop feeding into the climate-linked natural disasters that my constituents have been experiencing this year.
Nova Scotia knows that this is the time to act. We know that this is good for Nova Scotia, this is good for Newfoundland and Labrador, this is good for Atlantic Canada and this is good for Canada. Let us get this moving and get this to committee so we can work together and get this going.