© Star photo by Diane Crocker
Kirby Mercer, president and CEO of Beothuk Energy Inc., announced his company's plan to build offshore wind farms in Corner Brook at the Glynmill Inn on Friday.
CORNER BROOK Kirby Mercer anticipates having an update within the next 60 days on his plans to locate a wind farm manufacturing facility in Corner Brook.
“We’re working diligently on another key component of this,” said Mercer, the president and CEO of Beothuk Energy, on Thursday.
Until that’s in place, Mercer said, “I can’t say exactly what I’m doing yet. And there’s reasons for all this.”
The number one reason is that wind farms are a competitive business.
“We don’t want to be showing everybody what we’re doing until we’re ready to announce it,” he added.
Mercer started Beothuk Energy over two years ago and has been working on the plan for the manufacturing facility for just as long. He has partners in the venture, but declined to name them at this time. On Sept. 20, he held a news conference in Corner Brook announcing his intention to manufacture offshore wind farm gravity-based structures at the port.
The company is working with the Corner Brook Port Corporation to identify a location for facility. He said the company has an idea of the space that will be needed and where everything is going to go, but the final decision depends on the design of the structures, how the components will be mated dockside and how they’ll be brought out to sea.
“That will dictate what the design of the port will look like and then that will also dictate the total amount of land.”
However, Kirby said once that’s completed things will start moving rather quickly. To help things along, Beothuk Energy announced Wednesday that it had awarded a contract for engineering management consultancy services to Maderra Engineering of St. John’s.
“They’re going to act more like an in-house engineering firm for us,” said Mercer. He said Maderra will act as lead in overseeing its projects.
In addition to the manufacturing facility, Beothuk is also proposing constructing and operating a 180-megawatt demonstration wind farm in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The $400-million project will consist of 30, six-megawatt turbines that are expected to produce energy that will cost less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour.
After Beothuk announced its plans, TC Media reported that the Department of Environment and Conservation had not received a proposal from the company requesting approval of the manufacturing facility or one for the demonstration farm.
Mercer said the only applications that will be required with the provincial government will be a building permit for when the company is ready to start construction on the dock.
And he said questions about Beothuk Energy needing the approval of Nalcor Energy and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro didn’t make any sense.
“We don’t have to talk to Nalcor,” he said. “The only thing that we’re doing in Newfoundland is building gravity-based structures. We don’t have to deal with the Newfoundland government to sell power, we don’t have to deal with Nalcor.”
The demonstration wind farm will be in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the eastern seaboard and selling power to the mainland and Mercer said it has no connection Nalcor and Emera’s Maritime Link project.
“It’s a total different project and not tied to any of that stuff at all.”