Energy Minister Andrew Parsons announced four successful bids for wind hydrogen projects on Wednesday. (Terry Roberts/CBC)
Four companies are one step closer to developing and exporting hydrogen and ammonia to the world market after getting their bids for wind hydrogen projects across Newfoundland approved.
The companies are EverWind Fuels, the Exploits Valley Renewable Energy Corporation, Toqlukuti'k Wind and Hydrogen (ABO Wind) and World Energy GH2.
"I'm certainly pleased today to say that these four projects have been independently reviewed and determined to provide the overall greatest benefit to the province," Energy Minister Andrew Parsons said at a press briefing Wednesday afternoon.
The announcement isn't a green light to begin construction, said Parsons — the companies can now pursue the development of their individual projects and proceed through the provincial government's Crown land application and approval process.
Parsons declined to name the five unsuccessful applicants, but CBC News has previously identified them as Pattern Energy, North Atlantic, Brookfield Renewable Partners, Red Earth Energy and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.
German company ABO has partnered with Braya Renewable Fuels, which operates the Come By Chance refinery, where they plan to develop green hydrogen.
Its approved bid area is about 108,000 hectares, which will be used for the wind farm as well as a storage and production facility.
EverWind wants to set up on the Burin Peninsula, where it has about 270,000 hectares of Crown land reserved.
The Exploits Valley Renewable Energy Corporation has set its sights on a production facility in Botwood to export green hydrogen and ammonia. Its bid area is around 30,000 hectares.
World Energy GH2 has also proposed a three-phase project with wind turbines and a hydrogen and ammonia production facility. Its Crown land area is approximately 107,000 hectares.
The allotted Crown land will be held in reserve for the next 18 months, and the four companies must start on their Crown land application process in that time. They must also pay 3.5 per cent of the market value of the land.
Money and jobs
It's estimated that between the construction and decommission phases, the projects have a lifespan ranging from 35 to 40 years, said Parsons, and they represent an estimated $206.2 billion in gross domestic product and $11.7 billion in revenue for the province.
Based on the information the four companies provided the government, he said, peak full-time employment could be 11,694 job. Total capital spending is an estimated $66.3 billion, he said.
As to whether N.L. has the skilled workforce to fill the jobs, Parsons said some of the companies have been in touch with post-secondary institutions and trade organizations like Energy N.L. to discuss their needs.
"I would rather have thousands of jobs and try to find the people to fill them than the other side, which is have thousands of people and no jobs for them to go into. So we will continue to work on that with proponents, with industry," he said.
Energy N.L. CEO Charlene Johnson said Wednesday's announcement was a welcome one, calling it a "great day." A lot of Energy N.L.'s members were anxious for the approvals, she said.
"This is the start of a new industry within the energy sector, and we're so fortunate here to have renewables and non-renewables," she said.
Energy N.L. CEO Charlene Johnson called Wednesday's announcement a 'great day.' (Darryl Murphy/CBC)
Botwood Mayor Jim Sceviour said residents are elated by the approval of EVREC's proposal, which he anticipate will bring prosperity to their area.
"We're super-excited, to say the least."
Botwood Mayor Jim Sceviour says he's elated by the approval of the Exploits Valley Renewable Energy Corporation's project. (CBC)
No politics, says minister
The bids were put through a two-phase assessment conducted by a committee that included representatives from the provincial government, the provincial Office of Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, said Parsons, and were also given third-party analysis.
Earlier this month, the provincial legislative standards commissioner determined Premier Andrew Furey hadn't entered into a conflict of interest or violated the House of Assembly code of conduct with a stay at a luxury fishing lodge belonging to World Energy GH2 chairman John Risely, whom Furey considers a friend.
Parsons said the friendship played no part in which projects were approved.
"I'm being as straightforward as I can be," said Parsons. "Politics has played a zero role in this. I have no concern for anybody's connections of any political stripe or anything whatsoever."
Pattern Energy rejected but has other plans
One of the companies that won't be moving forward with the government's Crown land process is Pattern Energy, but the company already has an agreement with the Port of Argentia involving private land.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was in Argentia on Monday, touring the town's port, which she said will serve as a key location in Canada's role in the global energy transition. (Terry Roberts/CBC)
On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was given a tour of the Argentia port, where she touted the area's potential as a world leader in the global energy transition.
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