St. George’s Bay announced as site for wind farm

Frank Gale fgale@thewesternstar.com
Published on February 15, 2014
Kirby Mercer is president and chief executive officer of Beothuk Energy Inc.
— Photo by Frank Gale/The Western Star

Beothuk Energy Inc. has chosen St. George’s Bay as the preferred site for its demonstration offshore wind farm.

Stephenville Mayor Tom O’Brien is welcoming the news that could provide more than 75 jobs in the town if this proposal becomes a

reality.  

Kirby Mercer, president and chief executive officer, said Beothuk is an international green-energy company headquartered in St. John’s, which is proposing to build and operate this offshore wind farm.

He said the farm would consist of up to 30 turbines generating 180 megawatts of clean, green energy costing less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour to produce. The project is estimated to cost about $400 million and will be funded totally through private investment, with no taxpayers’ money required.

Mercer said the St. George’s Bay site was selected because it has shallow water depths of less than 50 metres, world-class winds, is outside major shipping lanes, is away from bird migration routes, will be near a major transmission corridor (Emera’s Maritime Link) and close to Beothuk’s proposed Corner Brook manufacturing facilities and proposed service port at Port Harmon in Stephenville.

“It’s certainly exciting and another project with great potential for the town,” O’Brien said. “This is a growing industry and it will go a long ways to creating economic activity in our region.”

He said this will provide for higher usage of the port and the airport in Stephenville, but cautioned it is in the early stages, as environmental assessments and public consultations will first have to be part of the process.

Beothuk has requested an investigative permit from the Government of Newfoundland and Labra­dor for the proposed wind farm location.

The proposed development fits in with the 2012 government resolution to grant and provide open access to the province’s energy corridors.

Mercer said such access is designed to stimulate renewable energy developments, thus generating new industry and capital investment in Beothuk’s planned developments, creating up to 600 direct jobs.

He said this would have a positive socioeconomic impact on the west coast of the province.

Beothuk is proposing to operate an offshore wind farm service port at Port Harmon in Stephenville, as the port is strategically located to service the company’s proposed St. George’s Bay wind farm and is close to Beothuk’s previously announced Corner Brook manufacturing facility.

“Beothuk looks forward to working with interest groups and regulatory agencies to develop this new green industry. Our intention is to make western Newfoundland and Labrador a North American Center of Excellence for offshore wind manufacturing, staging and servicing,” Mercer said.

He believes that with political will and regional co-operation, the project can create hundreds of jobs in western Newfoundland, and substantial business opportunities for local companies at all tiers of the supply chain.

The Western Star