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Making Strides in the Regional Assessment for Offshore Wind Development in Newfoundland and Labrador – Interim Report Released

Press Release

ST. JOHN’S, NL, March 25, 2024 – Today the independent Committee Regional Assessment for Offshore Wind Development in Newfoundland and Labrador announced the release of its interim report. The report provides early recommendations and a preliminary map of the areas where, using current technology, offshore wind development has the best potential to occur.

Since May 2023 the Committee conducted over 60 meetings and met with nearly 700 people including Indigenous peoples, fishers and other ocean users, municipal leaders, federal and provincial governmental agencies, environmental organizations, research groups, and offshore wind developers.

Through these engagements and the collection of various information, the Committee was able to identify preliminary areas where offshore wind development may be of greatest interest to developers and where it may avoid or minimize some anticipated and/or identified impacts.

To date, the Committee has identified some information gaps including incomplete datasets and lack of studies on how offshore wind development may affect local species and environments. It is recommending that these information gaps are addressed before offshore wind development occurs.

Its research also informed early foundational recommendations that: all offshore wind projects should undergo an impact assessment, Indigenous peoples and their knowledge should be included when developing the joint management framework for offshore wind development, and federal and provincial governments should expedite the development of a Marine Spatial Plan for the offshore area.

“We’ve made great strides, but the work does not end here. We will be continuing to reach out to Indigenous groups, the public, and stakeholders to fine tune our recommendations including the final recommended Offshore Wind Licencing Areas. We will also look forward to discussions on the potential negative effects of offshore wind, and possible ways to mitigate those effects,” states Shayne McDonald, Chairperson of the the Committee for the Regional Assessment for Offshore Wind Development in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Committee will issue a Draft Regional Assessment Report in September 2024 for a 60-day public review and comment period. It will then submit the final Regional Assessment Report to federal Ministers of Environment and Climate Change and Natural Resources, and Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs in January 2025.

Quick Facts

  • Regional assessments are studies conducted in areas of anticipated development to inform planning and management of cumulative effects and inform future project impact assessments. They are a key part of the implementation framework for the federal Impact Assessment Act.
  • The Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador launched the start of the Regional Assessment of Offshore Wind Development in Newfoundland and Labrador in March 2023.
  • The independent Committee comprises people of various backgrounds and expertise. The Committee members are: Shayne McDonald (Chair), Glenn Blackwood, Leslie Grattan, Brian Power, and Paul W. Saunders.
  • The public are encouraged to submit information and their comments concerning the regional assessment though the assessment’s webpage on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry
Associated Links

SOURCE Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

For further information: Nancy Macdonald, Communications Manager, Secretariat for the Committee for the Regional Assessment for Offshore Wind Development in Newfoundland and Labrador, Tel: 343-572-0993, Email: Nancy.Macdonald@iaac-aeic.gc.ca

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