Port au Port wind project needs more details, environmental impact statement, rules minister

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A proposed wind power project for the Port au Port peninsula needs a bit more work before it gets government approval. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

The company behind the proposed wind power project on the Port au Port peninsula will be required to provide an environmental impact study and provide further details to the provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change before obtaining the green light.

The controversial project proposes to build 164 wind turbines across the region, as well as a hydrogen and ammonia plant in nearby Stephenville.

But Environment Minister Bernard Davis wants to know more before giving the green light to the project.

In a news release Friday afternoon, which was Davis’ decision deadline, the department said Davis informed the project’s developer, umbrella company World Energy GH2, of what was expected.

The company must confirm the final locations proposed for wind turbines, worker accommodation, offices, explosive storage facilities, access roads, power lines and substations, as well as their distances and potential impacts on nearby receptors.

All areas of the project that overlap with protected areas, private lands, mining operations, mining permits and leases, recreational and traditional land uses should be identified, along with any potential redesign of the project.

In addition, potential effects on flora and fauna in the project area should be determined by:

  • A bat monitoring program that includes the active season between April 15 and October 31 and obtains comprehensive information on spring migration, summer activity of resident bats, and fall migration.
  • Targeted pre-construction breeding surveys for common nighthawk and short-eared owl.
  • A comprehensive survey of plants and lichens, including species listed under the NL Endangered Species Act. and the Species at Risk Act.
  • Baseline surveys for moose, caribou and muskrat.

World Energy GH2 must also confirm proposed primary and secondary water sources and hydrological modeling to determine any effects on other local users. The company must also provide baseline geological information to support the planned storage and sequestration of chemicals produced over the life of the project, including CO2 and ammonia.

Appointed evaluation committee

An Environmental Assessment Committee has been appointed to the record to provide scientific and technical advice to Davis and to draft guidelines for World Energy GH2 in the preparation of the impact statement. The committee includes representatives from nine provincial and federal government agencies, and its chair is from the Department of Environment and Climate Change.

The public now has more time to comment on the project. The government invites residents to provide feedback on the draft guidelines.

Locals remained divided earlier this week over the pros and cons of the development.

Cape St. George Mayor Stella Cornect told CBC News at the time that her community was dying and needed an economic boost.

She said a civil Port au Port project committee — made up of city councilors and members of local service districts in the area — asked Davis to extend his decision deadline.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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