Kirby Mercer has a plan to construct a 180-megawatt offshore wind park in St. George’s Bay and to locate a wind energy manufacturing facility in Corner Brook.
But how far away his Beothuk Energy Inc. is from turning the plan into reality depends on political policy and a purchase power agreement.
Right now Mercer, the president and CEO of the company, doesn’t have either.
Mercer was in Corner Brook on Tuesday to talk about the project at an ACAP-Humber Arm Coastal Matters session held at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Approximately 30 people attended.
What Mercer shared with them was a lot of what he’s shared in the past.
Following the presentation he responded to questions on where the project stands.
In terms of the political will, Mercer said the Liberal caucus energy policy is to have more wind-generated energy. But the governing PCs don’t feel the same.
“We’ve got an opportunity here that is really a resource that needs to be tapped,” he said.
He’s convinced that if his company doesn’t do it, someone else will.
Mercer said the location he’s proposing for the wind park is ideally located not only for export, but also to provide power locally.
“This puts us almost at the starting point rather in the last place to get it,” he said.
Over the past year, Mercer said Beothuk Energy has been making big strides and there’s been a lot of behind the scenes work on the project. However, he said for competitive reasons, he’s not going to say exactly what he is doing.
He did say that he is about to take the company public and that he’s confident the necessary funding for the project can be obtained.
Still, he declined to name the private investors that he’s previously said are interested in being a part of the project.
A lot of the information the company has gathered consists of “off the shelf stuff,” he said.
Kirby said there have been a lot of studies completed in St. George’s Bay for the oil and gas sector that Beothuk can make use.
“It’s ready made for us,” he said.
This fall the company plans to do some exploratory work of its own on winds, waves and the subsea in the bay.
After announcing the project last year, Mercer had not sought any government approval or permits for any part of his plan. He said that won’t happen until he knows what the final plan will be.
The wind farm will require federal approval because it is located offshore, and Kirby expects some aspects will also require provincial approval.
As for the fabrication yard in Corner Brook that is also still a ways off.
Mercer again said the size of the wind farm will dictate a lot of how the fabrication process unfolds.
He said the company is talking with the Corner Brook Port Corporation about its needs and does have a memorandum of understanding with the port to move forward when the company is ready to go.