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Blogger ‘Uncle Gnarley’ Des Sullivan has many questions about the Western Newfoundland wind farm proposal

MOUNT PEARL, NL — Over the past decade, Des Sullivan has written a considerable amount of articles on the still controversial Muskrat Falls project.

The St. John’s businessman and lead author of the “Uncle Gnarley” blog has consistently taken the government to task for the megaproject.

Lately, he has been focusing on another major energy project, World Energy GH2’s 164-turbine onshore wind farm proposal on the Port au Port peninsula.

“What I’m always looking for is how transparent something is…and I want government policy to be as transparent as possible,” Sullivan told SaltWire.

In the case of the wind farm, Sullivan said he saw no transparency. And it reviewed the environmental assessment that World Energy filed and tracked politicians’ comments and the company’s comments and responses to questions.

“That was a big oddity for me because you’re talking about a very large project which, as far as we know, and that’s part of the problem, this project intends to connect to the network.”

A map showing the wind farm sites in World Energy GH2’s proposed project to construct a wind farm and hydrogen/ammonia production facility in the Stephenville-Port au Port area. – World Energy GH2 – Contribution

Sullivan said with something as variable as the wind can be, it’s an important public policy issue.

“Especially since Newfoundland just wasted $14 billion.”

Sullivan said the province should be very careful about its energy policy and if it does, it should be on a competitive basis.

“We shouldn’t put ourselves in a position where we might have to consider additional capital expenditure with money we don’t have.”

Sullivan said the wind farm project is bigger than people think and is bigger than what was presented.

“We shouldn’t put ourselves in a position where we might have to consider additional capital expenditure with money we don’t have.”

Maximize return

The three areas chosen by World Energy for the wind farm – along the Port au Port Peninsula, in the Lewis Hills and the Blomidon Mountains – are among the best wind resources in North America.

As a businessman and as a citizen, Sullivan said he would say that if we have a great resource here, why should we view wind any differently than we would view copper or oil?

“Shouldn’t we maximize the return to the province? Isn’t that the government’s job?

Sullivan said it came down to a matter of public policy.

“Have you selected World Energy or are you going to create a level playing field for World Energy to bid on this resource? He can bid on network access. »

As for the grid, Sullivan said people don’t know and politicians choose not to tell us if any studies have been done on our wind connection capacity.

Can the network support farms of different sizes? What are the implications? What are the connection costs if we can? Who will pay ? These are standard questions that a government should appreciate from day one, he said.

“There are a number of issues, and there is a methodology, that the government needs to consider and need to be taken into account to put the wind on the table – and they have huge financial implications for the province. »