Bruce County Warden Mitch Twolan [left] with Saugeen First Nation Chief Lester Anoquot after announcing a partnership to advance hydrogen fuel development in Bruce County. (Photo by Jordan MacKinnon)

Bruce County and Saugeen First Nation form hydrogen storage partnership

The prospect of an expanded energy sector is bringing Bruce County council and Saugeen First Nation together to form a partnership.

Bruce County Warden Mitch Twolan said the geologic formations under Bruce County are ideal for storing large quantities of hydrogen gas, and they want to use that potential to lead the clean energy movement.

The project, known as Bruce Innovates, proposes to build power-to-gas technology, which uses excess electricity to generate and store hydrogen fuel, as well construct a sustainable energy centre for academic advancement of clean energy technology.

Twolan said Bruce County is ideal for hydrogen fuel development because of the vast amounts of electricity generated from nuclear and renewable sources, combined with the geologic storage capabilities.

“This is going to help out agriculture, transportation and other aspects of low-carbon economies,” said Twolan. “It’s cutting-edge, we at Bruce County would like to be the leaders in [hydrogen], and possibly be the home of hydrogen production and technology, North America-wide.”

Close to a dozen partners have signed letters of support and Twolan said they are now seeking federal funding for as much as $25 million to fund the project. However, he admitted the partnership with Saugeen First Nation is an important step, not only for moving the project forward, but as a symbol of unity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

Saugeen First Nation Chief Lester Anoquot pointed out they are invested in clean energy, with the formation of G7 Fuel with Port Elgin-based renewable energy company Carlsun Energy Solutions, as well as owning a 30% stake in Hydro One’s Bruce-to-Milton power corridor.

“We’re looking forward to the partnership with the county, it’s probably the first of its kind for us,” said Anoquot. “We are partners with Hydro One, as well, we do have some energy partnerships and we’re looking forward to this one.”