Nova Scotia has become the first province in Canada to set out ambitions to build industrial-scale wind power plant off its shores, with its premier today (Tuesday) outlining plans to bring 5GW online by decade’s-end to support development of green hydrogen production in the country’s maritime region.

Flagship leases for offshore wind arrays in the Canadian Atlantic will be awarded through a competitive auction to be shepherded by the provincial and federal governments, with expectations of a first call for bids in 2025.

“Setting this target sends a clear signal to the world that Nova Scotia is open for business and becoming an international leader in offshore wind and green hydrogen development,” said premier Tim Houston.

“We are taking every opportunity to develop our renewable energy market, not only to fight global climate change, but also to create green jobs here in Nova Scotia.” After reaching the lead-off offshore wind target, calls for bids will be based “on market opportunities”, he added.

Nova Scotia sees green H2 generation as “the most promising use” for offshore wind, both to meet future demand in the province and for export. The province plans to unveil a sector action plan next year, with a a view to helping Nova Scotia reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The case for offshore wind development off Nova Scotia, which has a population of under one million residents, is based on the province having a world-class resource with wind speeds of 10-11 metres per second; a wide continental shelf suited to both floating and fixed platforms; a historical connection to international shipping trade routes; a ready-to-diversify marine service and supply chain; and an established oil & gas sector that could support the emerging renewables play.

Tory Rushton, Nova Scotia’s minister of natural resources and renewables, said: “Nova Scotia offers some of the best offshore wind resources in the world, with ample capacity to serve both local and international green hydrogen markets.

“We will use this geography to our advantage in our pursuit of offshore wind as one of many solutions to help fight climate change and grow our green economy.”

Houston noted that the province’s offshore wind industry will be developed “in consultation with fishers, First Nations and other stakeholders” and would “take into account the federal-provincial regional assessment for offshore wind that is currently underway”.

Elisa Obermann, executive director of industry body Marine Renewables Canada, said: “This target signals the ambitions Nova Scotia has for offshore wind and our industry is ready to help deliver on those goals.”

Today’s announcement comes in the wake of an agreement signed last month by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to establish the Canada-Germany Hydrogen Alliance, through which Canada would start exporting green H2 to Germany by 2025.