Nfld. & Labrador

Wind farm investors optimistic about Newfoundland west coast

European investors in wind energy projects see the west coast of Newfoundland as "an excellent location."

Danish backers make 1st trip to Stephenville area

Lars Thaaning Pedersen, CEO Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, tells a Corner Brook business group about his company's plans for wind energy projects on the province's west coast. (Gavin Simms/CBC)

European wind farm investors say they are optimistic about upcoming projects on Newfoundland's west coast. 

Executives from Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) made their first trip to the island this week.

"We were visiting where the site was this morning, and I think it's an excellent location," said Lars Thaaning Pedersen, chief operating officer, on Monday.

The Danish company revealed In September that it was coming onboard as financial backers for Newfoundland-based Beothuk Energy's proposed wind farms. 

The newly formed partnership has plans to develop several offshore wind farms in Atlantic Canada, starting with a 180-megawatt project in St. George's Bay, near Stephenville.

According to CIP,  Atlantic Canada has all the fundamentals to thrive in the wind industry. 

"It has shallow water, the wind speeds and the transmission capacity to carry the load of such offshore wind farms," Pedersen told the Corner Brook Board of Trade.

American market

Pedersen said the wind industry is expanding to the northeastern seaboard of the U.S. and Asia. He's hopeful demand for Newfoundland-made energy will come from the American market. 

"We believe there's huge potential. We see New York coming up, we see New Jersey coming up, we see Long Island coming up, we see Rhode Island coming up ... we are very confident that something will happen down there," he said.

The plan is to connect to mainland markets via Nalcor's Maritime Link, although no formal agreement has been made.

Right time

An active investor in offshore wind, Pedersen said CIP has learned some very costly lessons in Europe over the past 15 years. 

"In the last three to four years we have broken the code. We have brought in new equipment and big investments that have made sure that all projects are delivered on time, on cost. So there's a great confidence from various governments in Europe that offshore wind is a predictable way of building things."

Beothuk Energy is currently awaiting approval for plans to move forward with the St. George's Bay project. 

Meanwhile, Pedersen said CIP has just begin establishing itself in this province.

"We're coming over now, we're getting more engaged with the communities and the stakeholders and the political side of things," he said.

"We have a full team in Denmark also looking into developing this project. So there's quite a lot of people putting a lot of effort in and we hope we will get to the finish line in the not too distant future."