Nova Scotia

Beothuk Energy proposing $4B wind farm off Yarmouth

The Newfoundland-based energy company says the 120 turbines would be located 20 km from shore

Kirby Mercer

Kirby Mercer, President and CEO of Beothuk Energy, was in Halifax Monday night to tell the province's energy department about the proposed offshore wind farm. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

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A Newfoundland company wants to build a $4 billion wind farm 20 kilometres off Yarmouth, N.S., and sell the power to New England. 

"We have world-class wind here," said Kirby Mercer, president and CEO of Beothuk Energy Inc.

He was in Halifax Monday to tell Nova Scotia's Department of Energy about the project. It would involve about 120 turbines producing upwards of 1,000 megawatts of energy. 

A 200-nautical mile subsea cable would run between the farm and New England.

"[American utilities] are displacing a lot of coal and nuclear right now and they've been mandated to close very quickly," Mercer said.

"They're scrambling to get power, so we have exactly what they're looking for. It's preferred over hydro in the United States," he said.

New work for displaced oil workers?

Mercer would not say which American power utilities he spoke with specifically. He said he has not been in touch with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the U.S.

The project is in the early phases, but if it moves forward, Mercer estimates about 600 full time jobs would be created during the manufacturing stage and then "hundreds" of jobs during operation.

"So many similarities between offshore oil and offshore wind that it's a natural transition for people who may have been displaced in the oil sector to get involved in this right now," Mercer said.

Mercer said Emera, Nova Scotia Power's parent company, knows about the project proposal. He says it's too soon to say if they'll tap into it.

Beothuk is working with Jacob Capital Management, Siemens Offshore Wind, Talon Energy and Maderra Engineering.

Mercer says the offshore wind farm would have little impact on fishing operations. He plans to consult with stakeholders in 2016, including First Nations and fishermen.

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