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January 18, 2006
(Natural Resources)

Government responds to wind farm proposal

Ed Byrne, Minister of Natural Resources, commented today on the wind farm proposal that was announced yesterday by the Labrador Metis Nation and Ventus Energy Inc.

Minister Byrne indicated that the partnership made a presentation to him prior to making the public announcement of its proposal to build a 1,000 MW wind farm in Labrador.

"I want to make it clear that there is no arrangement between the province and this partnership for the development of this wind project, and government is not prepared to see the project proceed at this time," said Minister Byrne. "This is simply one of several private proponents that have made presentations to government for wind development projects in various parts of the province, and no decisions have been made on going forward with any project."

The minister commented that in an effort to see a strategic and coordinated approach to potential wind development in the province, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro recently issued a Request for Proposals for a small wind development project. On a parallel track, the provincial government is in the process of developing an Energy Plan for the province.

"We are currently in the process of the most comprehensive energy policy review ever undertaken in this province to develop an Energy Plan. This plan will set out the framework for policy decisions on how our energy sources are developed to achieve maximum benefit for the province. Obviously, the development of wind power will be a component of that plan," said Minister Byrne. "As a result we will not be making any decisions on such large wind development projects until government has its Energy Plan complete."

The minister also commented that from his perspective, the development of a natural resource such as wind would certainly be considered within the context of accruing benefits for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. As government is moving Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro into a new direction as an energy corporation with an expanded mandate, Hydro would be in a position to develop such projects itself for the direct benefit of the province.

"There exists tremendous opportunity for the provincial government, through Hydro, to lead the development of major wind projects in this province that would lead to cost-effective power for all ratepayers, as well as the potential to export power at a financial benefit to the province," said Minister Byrne. "At this point we need to keep all of those options available."

Media contact: Carmel Turpin, Natural Resources, (709) 729-5282, 685-4624,

2006 01 18                                     4:10 p.m.


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