The World Energy GH2 consortium proposes to build 164 wind turbines in the Port-au-Port peninsula. His plan was made public just days ago and the environment minister will have to decide whether to approve it by August 5. (Archives)
Residents of the Port-au-Port peninsula are concerned about the possible environmental impacts of a giant wind farm. They're hounding the company behind the megaproject for answers.
The World Energy GH2 consortium proposes to build 164 wind turbines on the peninsula, located in western Newfoundland, and use the energy produced there to make green hydrogen and ammonia at a plant in Stephenville.
If the megaproject sees the light of day, 2,500 jobs, including 100 permanent jobs, would be created, but the 200 m high turbines would also transform the landscape of the region.
If they are in a place where they produce noise and vibrations that affect my customers, it would be catastrophic for my business, explains Peter Fenwick, owner of Inn at the Cape. He estimates that one of the turbines would be about 1 km from his property.
“Our problem is that we don't know exactly what's going on and we have no idea what constitutes a safe distance between a home and a wind turbine. If I don't have that information, I can't tell you if I support the project. ”
— Cap Saint-Georges resident Peter Fenwick
The World Energy GH2 plan was made public just a few days ago as part of the #x27;environmental assessment of the project.
At the request of municipalities in the region, representatives of World Energy GH2 will meet on Wednesday with residents of two towns in the peninsula: Cap Saint-Georges and Lourdes. Members of several local service districts, which do not have an official city council, will also be there.
We want to hear what the company has to say. We are not against wind turbines, but we want to know why it is necessary to put them in Cap Saint-Georges because there will be many near us, explains Stella Cornect, Mayor of Cap Saint-Georges.< /p>
We are limiting the number of people present for the moment because there is no point in having hundreds of people […] we want to focus on discussion and the question and answer period.
World Energy GH2 will also meet Wednesday with representatives of the city of Stephenville, where the hydrogen and ammonia plant would be located.
The MLA in Stepenville-Port-au-Port questions the speed at which the Liberal government assesses the environmental impacts of the project.
We have an environmental assessment coming up at the end of June, with a deadline for commenting on it being July 27, mid-summer. Then the Minister must make a decision by August 5. I wonder why we are moving so quickly, says Progressive Conservative Tony Wakeham.
While some residents are eagerly awaiting the consortium's explanations, others are already opposed to the project.
It's going to ruin acres and acres of land, argues Travis Young, a homeowner in Sheaves Cove, a local service district on the peninsula. He fears repercussions on animals and vegetation, and believes that the destruction would be incredible.
Peter Fenwick adds that most of these permanent positions created by the project would be related to the factory in Stephenville, 10 km west of the peninsula.
We are the ones making the sacrifices and they are the ones who will reap all the benefits, believes Peter Fenwick.
World Energy GH2 – a consortium of CFFI Ventures, World Energy, Horizon Maritime and DOB-Academy – says it launched a series of consultations on May 13, when it held meetings with city councils in the region.
He also met with representatives of the Qalipu and Miawpukek First Nations, as well as the band councils in the area.
We look forward to hearing the concerns raised by the residents and to work together to address them, says a spokeswoman, adding that the project aims to bring value, employment, local business activity and financial benefits to the province and position our region as one of the best renewable energy sites in the world.
Travis Young points out that local service districts learned about the development of the project from the media and have so far not participated in any consultation conducted by World Energy GH2 .
It's like we're less important because we're not a city, he remarks.
La Grand'Terre, another local service district on the peninsula, is hosting a public meeting Monday evening to discuss the project. The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Sainte-Anne School.