Canada, Germany to sign green energy agreement in Newfoundland
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are set to sign a green energy agreement later this month in Newfoundland that could prove pivotal to Canada’s nascent hydrogen industry.
Ottawa is betting heavily on hydrogen to power much of this country’s — and the world’s — transition away from fossil fuels, whether via hydrogen fuel-cell trucking, hydrogen-powered industry or hydrogen electricity generation.
Canada is among the top 10 producers of hydrogen in the world today, and world demand is projected to increase 10 times over by 2050. Projections show hydrogen providing 24 per cent of the world’s energy demands — and 30 per cent of Canada’s — by that time.
Canada has the water and cheap renewable electricity to be a world leader in hydrogen production, but the technologies that use hydrogen are still largely on the drawing board.
Meanwhile, the company behind the Newfoundland project, World Energy GH2, has said the first phase of the proposal calls for building up to 164 onshore wind turbines to power a hydrogen production facility at the deepsea port at Stephenville. Long-term plans call for tripling the size of the project.
“There is a heightened urgency for Canada to step into this new market that’s in such high demand,” said Stephenville Mayor Tom Rose, who noted the province did not lift a moratorium on wind farm development until this year. “We’re poised now to be the green energy hub of North America.”
“We’re poised now to be the green energy hub of North America.”
Among the companies behind the project is CFFI Ventures Inc., led by Nova Scotia-based billionaire John Risley, who is best known as co-founder of Clearwater Seafoods.
As for Trudeau and Scholz, Rose said they will be joined in Stephenville by cabinet ministers and a delegation of German business leaders who will attend a green energy trade show before the signing ceremony.
Rose said Stephenville is an ideal place for a wind farm because the area is known for having a world-class “wind corridor.” As well, the town has the means to produce the large amounts of water needed for hydrogen production because heavy-duty infrastructure remains in place from the Abitibi-Price paper mill that closed in 2005.
“It appears to be the energy of the future and the demand is very robust,” said Rose, who was born and raised in the area. “We’re stepping up when another country needs our resources.”
The multibillion-dollar project was registered with the province in June and now requires an environmental impact statement.
In its proposal, World Energy GH2 says it is on the cutting edge of a new, green industry.