An Ontario-based power company is looking to establish two wind farms in the area.
Northland Power Inc. has applied to the provincial government for investigative licences to assess the viability of wind farms for a 4,144-hectare site near Cobb Lake, 40 km. west of Prince George, and a 3,658-hectare site near Marie Lake, 22 km. southwest of Fort St. James.
If all works out, farms large enough to generate at least 100 megawatts of power each will be operating, but it’s still early days yet, said Northern Power’s general manager of wind development David Atkinson.
So far the work has amounted to taking a look at special “mesomaps” showing wind currents.
“It’s pretty much a desktop study at this point to identify points on a map and then we need to go out there and ground-truth them and see how accessible these sites are and how constructible a wind farm would be on those sites and eventually put up a tower to measure the wind speed,” Atkinson said.
“We also need to meet with local stakeholders to see what their take is on having a wind farm in the area.”
How many towers it takes to generate 100 megawatts depends on the size of the turbines, but Atkinson said as much as $300 million could be spent on a farm. About 200 jobs would be generated during construction and about a dozen employees, most with skills as electricians, would maintain the sites once in place.
The goal is to have a feasibility study completed in time for a B.C. Hydro call for power next year.
Headquartered in Toronto, Northland operates 10 thermal and wind power facilities, half of them in Ontario and the rest in Quebec, Saskatchewan, the United States and Germany.
In April 2011, an investigative licences was granted to Vancouver-based Sea Breeze Power Corp. for a 3,151-hectare site at Burnstead Creek and a 3,751-hectare site at Darby Lake, both in the vicinity of Eskers and Stuart Lake provincial parks.
For more information and to comment on the proposals, visit www.arfd.gov.bc.ca, click on search and type in Northland in the keyword field.