On December 6, the Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on offshore wind to enable the province to take the regulatory lead on offshore wind projects within its inland bays. This MOU outlines a process by which the province can administer leases and life-cycle regulation, including revenue for projects developed.

This MOU is made possible by Bill C-49, which has not yet received Royal Assent. The Bill: An Act to amend the Canada—Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, completed Second Reading on October 17, 2023, but there is still no firm timeline for the final reading.

Bill C-49 would build on the existing offshore petroleum regulations for Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia to include offshore energy projects as well (through their respective Accords Acts).

While the future of Bill C-49 remains uncertain, signing this MOU is a positive step to help improve investor confidence, especially regarding potential offshore wind projects.

The MOU specifically identifies 16 inland bays where the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador would take the regulatory lead:

  • Bonavista Bay;
  • Pistolet Bay;
  • Bay of Islands;
  • Bonne Bay;
  • Hare Bay;
  • Ingornachoix Bay;
  • White Bay;
  • Notre Dame Bay;
  • Trinity Bay;
  • Trepassey Bay;
  • Mary’s Bay;
  • Placentia Bay;
  • Fortune Bay;
  • George’s Bay;
  • Port au Port Bay; and,
  • Conception Bay.

The Government of Nova Scotia announced on November 22 it will focus first on “building the regulatory framework for offshore wind energy development in areas jointly managed with the federal government before considering waters under solely provincial jurisdiction.”