According to Nick Mercer, a Ph.D candidate at University of Waterloo, Newfoundland and Labrador have incredible potential and resources for wind energy but barriers exist that prevent the industry from flourishing there.
Mercer told CBC Canada, “A lot of studies out there show that if you turn the island of Newfoundland into a single wind farm, we could produce 117 times the amount of electricity we consume. Despite this tremendous potential for wind energy here in the province, we’re currently ranked dead last among Canada’s provinces in installed wind energy capacity.”
“Most commercial wind turbines can withstand wind speeds of anywhere between 145 km/h to 260 km/h. We do have some high winds, but they’re not quite high enough to affect the existing commercial wind turbines.”
There are many barriers for the wind energy industry but the main three Mercer have found are political, technical and economic along with misinformation.
Mercer continued: “Currently in the province there’s a bill, called Bill 61, which de facto makes renewable energy development against the law. It is prohibited for any private actor, any renewable energy company to come into Newfoundland to build a renewable energy source or to sell or transmit it on the grid. It’s essentially against the law to build wind turbines in the province.”
You can read how the Question Period went down surrounding Bill 61, it’s a fun read. Unfortunately, Nalcor was given a monopoly over the electricity market in the province as a result of the bill being passed.
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael had a strong voice in the opposition and said they were given hours to read over the legislation that took months to write, which she considered “an affront to democracy and abuse of the people’s house.”
For now, wind energy will suffer in the province until legislation is able to change.