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World Energy GH2 files West Coast EIS

A map of the survey areas is also available online. – Submitted photo

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

WEST COAST – On Tuesday, Aug. 22, World Energy GH2 announced that they had officially submitted their comprehensive environmental study (EIS) for their large-scale green hydrogen project, Project Nujio’qonik. This is the first comprehensive environmental study ever in North America for a commercial-scale green hydrogen project. According to World Energy GH2, Project Nujio’qonik will be one of the world’s first wind-to-green-energy hydrogen projects at this scale, and production will be coming online starting in 2025. “Completion of the project’s initial stages will provide an immediate impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction efforts on a global scale. The initial stages of the project will offset ~850,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year based on displacing the equivalent amount of energy generated from coal,” said the company in its press release. Qalipu First Nation, a partner on the project, participated in the environmental assessment process by conducting a traditional land and resource use study and through numerous consultations. Sean Leet is the Managing Director and CEO. “Over the past few months, we’ve achieved several key milestones for Project Nujio’qonik,” said Leet. “We acquired the Port of Stephenville, a key asset for the production and shipping of green hydrogen and green ammonia; we closed a $50M investment with our newest partner, SK ecoplant, marking the first overseas investment in a Canadian green hydrogen project; we successfully completed the first phase of the province’s Crown lands bidding process; we made major strides towards completing our Pre-FEED (initial phase of front-end engineering and design) and we have now submitted a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement. We look forward to the province announcing its decision regarding the final phase of the Crown lands bidding process at the end of this month, and to the province’s response to our EIS submission later this fall.” Chairman John Risley says this is an important step for the launch of a new industry. “As we work to stand up a new, clean, renewable energy industry in Atlantic Canada, this is an important step in our progress,” said Risley. “Signs of climate change are all around us. Atlantic Canada is ideally situated to be part of the solution, and we need to develop green energy solutions now. Our project is on track to produce initial quantities of green hydrogen in 2025, so Canada has the opportunity to be a first-mover and to become a globally important producer, consumer and exporter of green energy. The world desperately needs clean, green energy, and we’re working to make that a reality here in Atlantic Canada.” The environmental assessment process was registered with the province in June, 2022, and includes 27 studies and plans that were requirements from the Department of Environment and Climate Change. World Energy GH2 began the studies in the summer of 2022. The baseline studies carried out were Atmospheric Environment, Aquatic Environment, Terrestrial Environment, and Socio-Economic Environment and Land and Resource Use. Included in the Atmospheric Environment study are specifics on noise, vibration, air quality, climate and greenhouse gases, and light. Noise levels were found to be highest for locations close to major roadways or nearer to urban areas close to Stephenville. Rural areas experienced less noise. Nighttime sound levels were also measured as lower than daytime levels. Baseline vibration levels were found to be low at most locations. Only two locations had an instance where the measurement was higher than 0.1mm/s (millimeters per second). One was at a location near the existing quarry and another could be attributed to a vehicle passing. The remaining measurements at each location were well below 0.1 mm/s. Regarding air quality, there are no large industrial emissions sources in the Project Area. The nearest emissions sources to the Project Area include the Atlantic Minerals Limited (AML) Lower Cove Quarry, the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Mill, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro Ramea Diesel Generating Station. Depending on the amount of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions released by the Project, the Project may be subject to legislation requiring GHG emissions quantification, reporting, and third-party verification. There are already sources of artificial light contributing to the existing ambient light environment within the Project Area. The main source of artificial light in the Project Area is from the Town of Stephenville. The Aquatic Environment study included water resources and use – both groundwater and surface water – wastewater discharge, freshwater fish and fish habitat, freshwater fisheries, and marine environment. Not only does the study look at the particular resources available in both the Port au Port and Codroy Valley areas, but an assessment of the water supply, water quality, and a survey of public drinking water sources that may be affected. In the Regional Assessment Area (RAA), numerous angling areas were listed, such as the Great Codroy River and Harry’s River. Three species at risk or species of conservation concern were found in the RAA – the American Eel, Banded Killifish, and the Mummichog. Significant details are offered in the study based on each location within the project area, including lists of marine mammals that have a potential to be present and how high the potential is for their occurrence. In the Terrestrial Environment Study, six endangered plants were found to be occurring in the project area, such as the woolly arnica, low northern rockcress, rock dwelling sedge, feathery false solomon’s seal, small yellow water crowfoot, and the lindley’s aster. Three threatened plant species were also found, as well as three endangered and threatened lichens and numerous culturally important plants. Three important Bird and Biodiversity Areas were found on the southwest coast, noting 21 bird species at risk and 19 species of conservation concern. A full list of plants, birds, and other species at risk found in the project area are listed and described in the full environmental impact statement. Finally, the Socio-Economic Environment and Land and Resource Use study, goes into significant detail regarding the economy of the region including the labour force, average wages and employment. A full study on communities was conducted, which includes local government, utilities, domestic waste management, and emergency services. Land and resource use is discussed, as well as traditional land and resource use which includes sections on Qalipu First Nation and Miawpukek First Nation as well as a overview of the archaeological and heritage resources found in the project area. The EIS in its entirety can be viewed on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador website, which includes an executive summary, 26 chapters and appendices, and four baseline studies. Public comments are also encouraged and where individuals can send them is also listed on the site with the EIS. Printed copies of the full EIS will be placed in the Bay St. George South, Cape St. George, Lourdes, St. George’s, Stephenville, Stephenville Crossing and Upper Ferry (Codroy Valley) public libraries. Printed copies of the EIS Summary will also be available at the World Energy GH2 Community Office in Stephenville. The public and stakeholders have until October 11, 2023 to submit any feedback.

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