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Fossil fuel heating systems at two Cape Breton schools will be converted to wood chip technology as part of a provincial plan to use locally sourced wood chips to heat public buildings.
Mira Forestry Development Ltd. of Albert Bridge has been awarded the contract to convert Memorial High School in Sydney Mines and Riverview High School in Coxheath.
Each wood heat system will be in an exterior structure built for future district heating expansions.
The contracts to design, build and operate new boilers include long-term agreements to source wood chips from private woodlots and sawmills.
Contracts were awarded through a competitive public tender process and include long-term agreements to supply and operate the facilities.
Three other companies have been selected to convert fossil fuel heating systems at four other provisional sites to the wood chip heating systems.
Wood4heating Canada Inc. in Charlottetown will convert Perennia Park Atlantic Centre for Agri-Innovation in Bible Hill and Hants East Rural High School in Milford, Hants County, Spec Resources Inc. in Church Point, Digby County, will convert the Nova Scotia Community College Centre of Geographic Sciences in Lawrencetown, Annapolis County and ACFOR Energy Inc. of Cocagne, N.B. will convert Bridgewater Provincial Court to wood chip technology.
The wood heat systems should be in place during this heating season and the province is assessing additional sites to expand the program.
“These projects help us progress towards a greener economy and reduce the carbon footprint of government buildings by replacing fossil fuels with a renewable resource," said Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin, in a news release.
“Using lower-grade wood for heat will create new and stable markets for Nova Scotia's wood chips and opportunities for private woodlot owners and sawmills to sell lower grade wood locally.”
Supporting small-scale wood energy projects and converting some government buildings to wood heat energy was a recommendation from the Independent Review of Forest Practices and is supported by the Forestry Transition Team.
The expected annual quantity of wood fuel chips for the six sites is between 2,000-2,500 tonnes.