© Star photo by Frank Gale
Kirby Mercer, president and chief executive officer of Beothuk Energy Inc. has announced the preferred site for an offshore wind farm.
Beothuk Energy Inc. has announced that St. George’s Bay is the preferred site for its previously announced demonstration offshore wind farm.
Stephenville Mayor Tom O’Brien welcomed the news, which could mean up to 75 or more jobs in his 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 Canadian dollars and will be funded totally through private investment with no taxpayer 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 that 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 nicely with the 2012 Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 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 socio-economic 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 will be strategically located to the St. George’s Bay wind farm and is close to Beothuk’s previously announced Corner Brook manufacturing facility.
“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 cooperation, the project can create hundreds of jobs in western Newfoundland and there would be substantial business opportunities for local companies at all tiers of the supply chain.