Danish offshore wind energy giant DONG Energy has signed a Letter of Intent with the Canadian NaiKun Wind Energy Group for exclusive rights to the Haida Energy Field Offshore Wind Project in British Columbia, an offshore wind location with up to 2 gigawatts of potential capacity.
DONG Energy, one of Europe’s leading offshore wind developers, and Vancouver-based energy company NaiKun Wind Energy Group, announced this week the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) giving DONG Energy exclusive rights to negotiate a joint development agreement for the mammoth Haida Energy Field Offshore Wind Project, located off the coast of Canada’s British Columbia, in the Hecate Strait between Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert.
This seemingly administrative move is yet another big move for DONG Energy as it begins to expand its reach beyond its traditional European playground. Over the past year, DONG Energy has made significant strides with its planned 2 gigawatt (GW) Bay State Wind offshore wind project, a proposed offshore wind farm it is hoping to develop in cooperation with New England transmission builder, Eversource Energy. Set to be developed south of Martha’s Vineyard, the project was first announced in December of 2016, and earlier this year the two companies received its first approval from the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for the site, allowing for the deployment of three meteorological buoys.
Now, crossing North America from east to west and heading north, DONG Energy is aiming to develop the Haida Energy Field, a location with some of the world’s most consistent winds spread out over a 550-square kilometer site in the Hecate Strait, between Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert. The site has the potential for in excess of 2 GW worth of offshore wind energy, and the project already has Environmental Assessment Certificates from the Provincial and Federal Governments for the first phase of the project, an offshore wind development with capacity between 300 and 400 megawatts (MW).
“Offshore wind is a reliable home-grown energy source and we are excited to explore the Canadian market,” said Thomas Brostrøm, President for DONG Energy Wind Power North America. “We see this opportunity as a first step to bringing offshore wind power to Canada in what could become a strategic partnership with the nation’s front-runner project.”
“This agreement effectively connects the largest offshore wind developer in the world with a project that offers one of the strongest, most-consistent wind resources in the world,” added Michael O’Connor, President and CEO of Naikun.
Canada currently has no offshore wind energy capacity (according to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s RESource), though it does have an impressive 11,900 MW worth of onshore wind (as well as a whopping 80 GW worth of large-scale hydropower). The development of the Haida Energy Field could therefore serve not just as a significant means to providing for British Columbia’s energy needs, but also to increase the country’s overall transition to a low-carbon economy.