Canadian Manufacturing

Renewable firm forges ahead with plan to build wind farm off Newfoundland coast

St. John's-based Beothuk Energy has partnered with a Danish infrastructure investment firm to help put turbines in the waters of Atlantic Canada



PHOTO: Dong Energy

Offshore wind energy has hit the ground running in Europe, but with no shortage of open space on land in Canada, the technology has yet to take off at home. PHOTO: Dong Energy

HAMBURG, Germany—There are few guarantees in Canada’s fledgling offshore wind market, but Beothuk Energy Inc. is moving forward with a plan to build Canada’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Newfoundland.

Last week, the St. John’s-based company announced a new strategic partnership with Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, an investment fund with a long track record of offshore wind development. The two companies have agreed to work toward the construction of Beothuk’s proposed St. George’s Bay wind farm off the west coast of the island. When complete, Beothuk says the project would generate 180 megawatts of power, while creating some 500 jobs during construction.

“We see significant potential for offshore wind in Atlantic Canada due to strong winds, shallow water and an existing industry with experience in working in an offshore environment since many years,” Christina Grumstrup Sørensen, a senior partner at CIP, said.

Beothuk said CIP would provide all the capital to build the wind farm if the two companies are able to advance the project to the construction stage.

The plan faces a number of hurdles to reach that point, however, including securing a power purchase agreement.

Despite widespread success in Europe and a new project off the East Coast of the U.S., offshore wind power has struggled to find a foothold in Canada.

In addition to the high—though falling—cost of building offshore projects, Canada’s sparsely-populated land mass has led to the advancement of on-shore turbines instead, which are also traditionally cheaper than their offshore counterparts. Developers have put forward plans for a number of offshore projects in Canada, but so far, none have found their way into the water.

Beothuk hopes CIP’s clout in the renewable development industry and the Danish firm’s deep pockets will help change that.

The Newfoundland-headquartered company also floated an ambitious proposal last year to build a 1,000 MW wind farm off Nova Scotia at a cost of about $4 billion.

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