N.L. government lifts 15-year ban on onshore wind farms
Energy Minister Andrew Parsons says companies already expressing interest
A ban on wind farms that has been in place in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2007 has now been lifted.
The Liberal government announced Tuesday that for the first time in 15 years, the province will allow companies to generate and export onshore wind energy.
Industry, Energy and Technology Minister Andrew Parsons told the House of Assembly the moratorium had been "a barrier to wind investment and development."
Parsons said several companies had already expressed interest in developing wind farms in the province.
"We're signalling to developers, to interested parties … that we are going to be open for business," he told reporters during a scrum Tuesday afternoon.
He added that government would create policy that keeps hydroelectric output from Muskrat Falls in mind.
"We don't want to cannibalize the system we have here, where now companies will say, 'We're going to develop our own [electricity] instead of that,'" he said. "There's going to be ways that we're looking at in terms of using Muskrat, plus there's additional power.… A lot of this is the potential for growth."
The announcement comes as Ottawa contemplates giving the green light to offshore oil project, Bay du Nord. The Equinor-led proposal would see an estimated 300 million barrels of oil pumped out of the sea floor, with production slated to begin close to the end of this decade.
It also coincides with the rebranding of the province's oil and gas regulator, which has dropped the word "petroleum" from its name in favour of "energy" and is now the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Energy Board.
Parsons said the government expects a demand for renewables continuing into the future.
David Brazil, interim leader of the Progressive Conservatives, said embracing clean energy is a good idea for the province — in theory.
"The devil's in the details," he said.
"How do you store the energy? What does it mean for putting it on the grid?… There's a lot of details here that need to be outlined and explained."
- A previous version of this story inaccurately referred to a ban on offshore wind energy projects. In fact, the ban covered onshore wind projects.Apr 06, 2022 1:15 PM NT