There has been a great deal of conversation to date on wind and hydrogen energy for the province. A lot of news has been generated in the Stephenville area with plans from companies interested in energy development. As a result, the provincial government recently announced plans to open crown land for development by interested parties. The provincial government provided terms of reference for any company who may be interested in development, with a submission deadline of October 1, 2022.
The Town of Channel – Port aux Basques has recently been approached by a number of companies expressing interest in the southwest coast for development of energy projects. While Stephenville has been in the forefront of discussions to date, members of the Town of Channel – Port aux Basques council, staff and provincial counterparts have been working earnestly to ensure that the region is prominent in any company’s plans for the province.
One of the most promising and respected companies to review the southwest coast is Fortescue Future Industries (FFI). The company is from Perth, Western Australia and is a global green energy company operating in more than 25 countries that are building a portfolio of renewable hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar assets globally. Their projects include Green Hydrogen, Green Ammonia and Geothermal Energy.
FFI has been surveying investment opportunities around the world, and Canada has emerged as a country of special interest, specifically Newfoundland, and even more specifically, the west coast of the island. FFI has spent the past year conducting feasibility and engineering studies and recently spent some time in Port aux Basques to get a feel for the community. Based on that visit, FFI has filed a registration for an Environmental Assessment for a proposed green hydrogen production and export development in the area of Channel-Port aux Basques. The company plans to hold an information session in the area on August 18 to field any questions or concerns from area residents.
Most recently, the town has become aware that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a number of other dignitaries will be arriving in Stephenville to meet with energy companies, including FFI. The world demand for green energy projects is pushing the province to the forefront of the world stage for energy development.
The Environmental Assessment project proposal, call Project Lynx, submitted by FFI includes an electrolysis and green ammonia production plant with hydrogen storage, liquid ammonia marine export terminal and wind power generation facilities. This would be an enormous boost to the local economy creating upwards of two thousand jobs, not to mention the spinoff opportunities in real estate, construction, hospitality, etc.
Mayor Brian Button and members of council strongly support Fortescue Future Industries plans to create a leading edge green hydrogen industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Leon MacIsaac, Town Manager