A “hydrogen alliance” signed Aug. 23 in Newfoundland between Canada Premier Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz could propel billions in proposed green hydrogen production facilities in eastern Canada as key to accelerating renewable energy transition in Europe and other global markets.
Private developer World Energy GH2 has proposed an estimated $12-billion complex to supply 250,000 metric tons of green hydrogen per year globally.
If fully built, it would be “one of the world’s first and biggest projects in the nascent global push for green hydrogen,” a project spokeswoman told ENR. Up to 164 new onshore wind turbines on Newfoundland’s Port au Port peninsula are envisioned to provide 1 GW of power in the first project phase for a 0.5-GW hydrogen-ammonia plant near Stephenville.
The spokeswoman said Canada-based consultant Stantec has been hired to support environmental planning and permitting for the project, which faces opposition and needs approvals from municipal, provincial and federal regulators.
First-phase construction is set to start in 2023, she said, with production by mid-2024 and full completion by 2026.
A second project was proposed by a unit of Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group, a leading global iron ore producer, which signed a memo of understanding with the Miawpukek First Nation in late August for a feasibility study of a green hydrogen-ammonia facility on Newfoundland’s southwest coast using seawater and wind turbines.
In April, Newfoundland-Labrador lifted a moratorium in place since 2007 on privately owned onshore wind generation. Province Premier Andrew Furey said that since last year, “over a dozen companies” have contacted officials regarding green hydrogen projects.
In Nova Scotia, private developer EverWind Fuels announced a deal last month with German energy firm Uniper to purchase up to 1 million tons per year of green ammonia from a planned multiphase production and export facility—with an estimated $1.5-billion investment, a possible construction start next year and commercial operation in early 2025.
Scholz noted, in a press briefing, Canada's "boundless potential to become a superpower" on renewable energy production, but he also emphasized Germany's "warp speed" shift from Russian fossil fuel—leading to renewed speculation of eastern Canada also building a second hub for liquefied natural gas exports. It would be in addition to a major west coast complex in British Columbia, LNG Canada, now about two-thirds complete.
Trudeau noted the need for a strong business investment case to justify government support for new eastern province LNG export infrastructure and expedited permitting approvals, said Bloomberg.