Great News for the Burin Peninsula!!! NL Hydrogen Race Narrowed To Nine

July 7, 2023
Alex Bill

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has whittled down its list of contenders in the multi-billion-dollar hydrogen race to nine, hoping to have its finalists for the hascent sector by the end of summer.

In a Thursday evening release, Industry, Energy and Technology Minister Andrew Parsons said the province completed its stage one review of companies seeking Crown Land leases to build the wind farms that would power their hydrogen production. The review, which included criteria on bidders’ experience and financial capacity, brought the number of proponents down from 24 bids from 19 companies, to nine bids from nine companies.

The province did not name the successful proponents, but allNewfoundlandLabrador, speaking with a wide range of industry sources, confirmed eight of the nine companies to pass the milestone:

1 ABO Wind
2 Brookfield Renewable
3 EverWind Fuels
4 Exploits Valley Renewable Energy Corp. (EVREC)
5 Fortescue Future Industries
6 North Atlantic
7 Pattern Energy
8 World Energy GH2

The stage one cohort includes most of the companies that have been public about their plans to date, with the exception of Red Earth Energy, which was targeting hydrogen from Bull Arm, and Terra Nova Hydrogen, which was aiming for a project on the Burin Peninsula. Both were unsuccessful.

As expected, the Placentia Bay area is the most popular region for the preferred bidders, with Brookfield, North Atlantic and ABO all eyeing wind farms in and around Come by Chance.

ABO is partnering with Braya Renewable Fuels for potential hydrogen use at the refinery, while Pattern Energy plans production from nearby Argentia.

Just down the shore on the Burin Peninsula, Everwind, an early leader in the Nova Scotia hydrogen push, is advancing a project to export from Marystown.

In Western Newfoundland, the John Risley-chaired World Energy GH2 has been one of the most public-facing proponents, and unquestionably the most earliest firm on components like its environmental assessment or constructing meteorological evaluation towers. It’s planning a wind farm on the Port au Port peninsula and hydrogen export – after conversion to ammonia, like the other bidders – from Stephenville.

Fortescue Future Industries, a subsidiary of Australian mining via Fortescue Metals Group, has said it’s looking at a couple of options ranging from Port aux Basques to Bay St. George.

Exploits Valley Renewable Energy Corp, which has local construction power Marine Contractors Inc. as an equity partner, is perhaps the most geographically isolated, targeting the former Abitibi lands and Crown Land in Central Newfoundland, with production and export from Botwood.

Several companies have agreements with Indigenous groups, including MOUs citing a path to an equity arrangement with the Miawpukek First Nation, such as ABO and Fortescue, or benefits agreements with the Qalipu First Nation, as World Energy GH2 has.

The provincial government says the second stage review, which it hopes to complete by the end of August, will include a deeper examination of bidder experience, the project details, financing plans, and electricity grid connection requirements – a major hurdle in the province, which has limited power to spare when the wind isn’t blowing – and community and Indigenous engagement.

“These projects have the potential to bring considerable investment and economic activity to our province,” said Parsons in a statement.

“We will continue to review projects through the phase two process to finalize which ones move forward. We continue to be optimistic about the future of wind-hydrogen development in our province.”

Successful bidders will still need to pass environmental assessments before they are awarded Crown Land leases.

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