Canada Starts Offshore Wind Development Assessments

The government of Canada has, together with the government of Nova Scotia and the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, launched the start of the regional assessments of offshore wind development in the two provinces.

Siemens Gamesa/Illustration

The recently released Agreement and Terms of Reference outline how the assessments will be conducted, and sets out their goals, objectives, activities and planned outcomes, as well as key aspects of their governance and administration. The documents were developed with input from the public, Indigenous Peoples, and environmental, fishing, academic, and industry organizations.

Under the Terms of Reference, the Committees now have 18 months to complete their work. During this time, they will engage with Indigenous Peoples, other organizations and the public, gather and analyse information and seek advice from advisory groups. They will then prepare draft Regional Assessment Reports for public review and comment, which will be finalized and submitted to the federal and provincial Ministers.

The main purpose of regional assessments is to contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of future impact assessments of projects that are subject to the Impact Assessment Act.

In this case, the assessments will allow for early analysis of future wind developments offshore of the two provinces, as well as their potential environmental, health, social and economic effects and benefits. This will help inform planning and decision-making for future wind projects in the study areas.

”Clean energy and technologies are essential in enabling a sustainable and prosperous low-carbon future. This is why we are working in close collaboration with our provincial partners in support of wind development in Atlantic Canada. Wind power is clean and will deliver affordable and reliable power to homes,” Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said.

Nova Scotia plans to auction off 5 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, with the first auctions starting in 2025.

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After reaching the 5 GW target, calls for bids will be based on market opportunities.

As part of this initiative, the provincial and federal governments also agreed to work toward modernising the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board that would expand its mandate to include the regulation of offshore renewable energy development in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore areas, and to rename the regulator to reflect this.

The governmental work on offshore wind development is currently ongoing in Newfoundland and Labrador as well, where the federal and provincial governments have entered into an agreement similar to that signed in Nova Scotia.

Under the agreement, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board will also have its mandate expanded to include offshore renewable energy development and a regional assessment for offshore wind will be conducted.


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