World Energy GH2 exec denies conflict of interest involving Furey’s fishing trip | Whuff News

A collage of two photos.  Left, Premier Andrew Furey speaks to the media inside the Confederation Building.  On the right, an older man with gray hair talks to a CBC reporter.
Premier Andrew Furey, left, says there is no conflict of interest after staying at John Risley’s lodge on a fishing trip in July 2021. Risley, chairman of World Energy GH2, is working to develop a hydrogen plant in western Newfoundland. (Patrick Butler, Paul Withers/CBC)

One of the executives behind the proposed plan to create a hydrogen plant in western Newfoundland says he does not believe the connection between Premier Andrew Furey and the billionaire chairman of the project is a conflict of interest.

Their relationship was first reported earlier this month, when news outlet AllNewfoundlandLabrador reported Furey and his father were staying at Rifflin’ Hitch Lodge on a fishing trip in July 2021.

The lodge is owned by businessman John Risley, chairman of World Energy GH2, a company looking to build a hydrogen-ammonia power plant on the Port au Port Peninsula.

Furey’s political opponents say the move exposes the prime minister to a conflict of interest. However, Furey said he personally paid for the trip and confirmed that no decisions related to the project would cross his desk.

When asked about this issue while giving a speech in St.

“Whenever you start a new business, a project of this nature, you have to have different issues that come up,” Leet told reporters.

“And I don’t think there is any conflict on the part of the prime minister or on our senior management team. Everyone is trying to do the right thing to start this business and put us in a position to take advantage of this huge, unprecedented opportunity. .”

Businessman Brendan Paddick, another friend of Furey’s, is also a director of World Energy GH2.

Asked if he was concerned about the connection with the project becoming a political issue, Leet said he was more focused on having the right people in his corner to help grow the renewable energy industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.

A man with faux hawk hair is standing with a smile on his face at a business presentation.
Sean Leet, director of World Energy GH2, says he is more focused on the realization of the hydrogen project than on potential conflicts of interest. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

The three-phase plan is expected to cost more than $16 billion. When completed, Leet said it could produce more than three gigawatts of power — more than three times the amount the Muskrat Falls project is expected to produce.

Canada has an agreement with Germany to begin supplying hydrogen by 2025, which Leet says is a quick timeline to keep development moving.

“There is a short window that we have where we can get the equipment in time… We definitely want to meet Canada’s commitment to Germany to provide the first green hydrogen in 2025,” he said.

“We have significant resources invested in the project already. We are moving it forward quickly while doing all the environmental work and stakeholder engagement work required at the same time.”

Leet said the deadline for the final investment decision is a moving target given time and business development, but he expects a decision to be made by next spring.

Read more on CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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