Offshore wind power is energy taken from the force of the winds out at sea, that is then transformed into electricity and supplied to the electricity network onshore. Offshore wind power continues to be recognized for its potential to support various clean energy initiatives, like providing clean electricity to the grid and producing clean fuels including green hydrogen through electrolysis.

Atlantic Canada has excellent offshore wind energy resources that are promising for future developments. Canada is known for the longest coastline in the world, and the approximate length of just Canada’s Atlantic is 42,000 km (about twice the size of the entire United States coastline). Offshore wind can also be stronger and more predictable than onshore, meaning our region has a significant opportunity to grow its clean energy future with the help of these offshore renewables.

Offshore developments are gaining attention in Atlantic Canada now with recent progress on regulatory development, production targets announced and development projects announced by Atlantic businesses. A summary of recent stories are below:

  • Sept. 2, Regional Assessment of Offshore Wind Developments

The Regional Assessment of Offshore Wind Development in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia will see the planning of strategic assessments throughout Canada under the Impact Assessment Act since offshore projects with ten or more wind turbines fall under federal authority.

The federal process for offshore wind development started in April 2022, with planning workshops held on September 13 and 16. A draft agreement between federal and provincial governments and terms of reference for the assessment will be released for review in October, with the final agreement and terms of reference expected in December 2022.

That will be followed by the appointment of, most likely, two committees, one for each province, that will work under the same terms of reference to conduct the regional assessment. Each committee will be supported by a secretariat and will have 18 months to complete its work. The assessment will look at potential developments from an environmental, social, health and economic perspective and consider impacts in all areas. Read more:

  • Sept. 20, Nova Scotia’s Offshore Wind Targets

Nova Scotia has set a target to offer leases for five gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 to support its budding hydrogen industry, and its goal of becoming an international leader in offshore wind and green hydrogen development.

Nova Scotia’s offshore wind industry will be developed in consultation with fishers, First Nations and other stakeholders. It will also take into account the federal-provincial regional assessment for offshore wind that is currently underway. Leases for offshore wind development will be granted through a competitive bid process jointly managed by the provincial and federal governments, and the first call for bids will be in 2025.

Nova Scotia also announced that it is developing a green hydrogen action plan to be released in 2023. The plan will outline the role green hydrogen can play in the transition to clean energy and the steps the government will take to build this industry, which will help Nova Scotia reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Read More:

  • Sept. 21, Irving Oil Partnership to Explore a Renewable Energy Hub

Irving Oil and Simply Blue Group have announced a commitment to explore opportunities related to the potential development of an integrated renewable energy hub at Irving Oil’s Whitegate Refinery. The companies will assess ways to integrate the planned offshore wind developments into this renewable energy hub, including the planned Emerald Floating Wind project, to be located approximately 50 km south of Cork, Ireland. Read more:

Related Information on Offshore Wind Energy: