Timeline for massive wind project in the Netherlands ‘extremely ambitious’, says consultant | Radio-Canada News

As a proposed wind power project for the west coast of Newfoundland hit a speed bump earlier in August, a group of world leaders, from politicians to international CEOs, are in Stephenville on Tuesday to sign an agreement on the hydrogen between Canada and Germany.

The project, mounted by umbrella company World Energy GH2, needs more details and an environmental impact statement before the Newfoundland and Labrador government gives it the go-ahead.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will be in Stephenville to sign an agreement early Tuesday evening, setting the stage for Canada to export hydrogen to Germany.

The World Energy GH2 plan calls for the construction of 164 wind turbines in the largely rural peninsula of Port au Port in Newfoundland. Near Stephenville, the company wants to build a plant where the hydrogen produced by wind turbines will be converted into ammonia.

This product would then be sold to Germany as it seeks to shift away from importing Russian oil to power its cities.

Delia Warren, a renewable energy consultant from St. John’s who works for Boston-based Xodus, said Monday she was surprised when she heard about the Canada-Germany deal — and even more surprised when she learned of the magnitude of the proposed operation. .

“It’s actually, in my view, a huge opportunity for Newfoundland and Labrador. It would really position us as a frontrunner in terms of developing this type of technology or implementing this type of technology in large scale,” Warren said.

“It would really set the stage for Newfoundland and Labrador to become a world leader.”

But Warren has concerns, and she’s not alone. Since the Port au Port proposal was announced, area residents and environmental groups have raised red flags.

Shortage of skilled workers in the United States

In a press release on Monday, the company said the project is expected to “create 1,800 direct construction jobs, 300 direct operations jobs and 3,500 indirect jobs.”

Warren said those numbers seem accurate, but she would like to see a full economic benefit assessment to see what the real impact on the province will be and a workforce assessment to see the availability of the workforce. work.

“One of the biggest problems with offshore wind construction in the United States is the lack of skilled labor for building the industry,” she said.

“I know that in Newfoundland and Labrador we have a large population of trades workers.… I hope the project will do more research to determine if these people have the skills required for the construction of this project .

Delia Warren, a renewable energy consultant, says the timeline for the Port au Port Peninsula wind farm project is ambitious. (Heather Gillis/CBC)

Another concern is the timing of the operation. World Energy GH2 expects the wind farm, when operational and clearing its final government hurdles, to produce hydrogen and ammonia by mid-2024.

Warren said it was an “extremely ambitious” goal.

“But where is there a will, there is a way. Where there is adequate funding, there is a way. When there is a need, you can get things done. The technology exists , she was tested,” she said.

“My main concern with the timing…would be the delays caused by an inadequate consultation process.”

‘Huge potential’

But timing may be a deciding factor in whether Newfoundland and Labrador enters a potentially lucrative industry.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said Canada wants to help Germany and other countries find energy sources to deal with the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this winter.

Two men in business suits talking quietly while walking in a banquet hall
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz take their seats during a dinner in Toronto on Monday. They will be in Stephenville on Tuesday to sign an agreement on the export of hydrogen energy to Germany. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

“Others are looking at that too, and that means you actually have to be strategic and you have to act fast,” Wilkinson said Monday.

“As they seek to accelerate the energy transition and certainly in Atlantic Canada, there are tremendous resources and other resources that can be useful in the context of creating hydrogen to help our European friends.”

Wilkinson said he had been driving a hydrogen car for about three years.

Stephenville Mayor Tom Rose said he was delighted to welcome Trudeau and Scholz, calling the occasion a proud moment for his community and Canada.

Rose said the wind power proposal for Port au Port and his community’s ammonia plant have “enormous potential”.

“There are a lot of tick boxes for Stephenville. It’s new energy from the future,” he said.

“Canada, I guess, is picking up the slack – specifically Stephenville, Newfoundland, Canada.”

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