A Scotland-based company, which set up shop in Canada about a year ago, has its eye on a site near Prince George for a wind farm.
Natural Power Consultants Ltd. is considering the top of Mount George near Stoner, about 30 kilometres south of the city, but whether one is built depends largely on how well the results from tests planned for next year turn out.
NPC had already secured an investigative permit from the provincial government and intended to get a 50-metre tall wind-monitoring tower in place this summer, but had trouble with the access routes.
“One was washed out, one was decommissioned,” said NPC business manager Mark Rogers.
The plan now is to get the equipment in place next summer and then leave it there for a year. If the data shows it’s worthwhile, the next step will be to try and win a contract to supply power to B.C. Hydro.
Thanks to the delay, NPC will have missed Hydro’s 2007 call for tenders, but hopes to make the 2009 intake.
“You’ve got to have a competitive wind resource to be able to tender your project and it’s got to be buildable and the grid’s got to have capacity to accept the power, all sorts of issues,” Rogers said.
“But the primary one that we’re interested in right now before we can go a lot further is taking a look at what the wind speed was, averaging over a year.
“Hopefully, this coming summer, we’ll be able to get a mast up and then the year following we’ll know if there’s something interesting to take further or else we’ll just pull the mast out.”
NPC is also looking at a high-elevation spot in the Nulki Lake area near Vanderhoof, but ran into problems reaching that area as well.
“There’s sort of a flat plain up there that we were interested in taking a look at,” Rogers said.
NPC, which operates 11 wind farms in the British Isles, has already installed monitoring towers at five sites in the Kootenays and three in the Okanagan.
NPC established an office in Vancouver in August 2005 and Rogers said it takes at least two years to get through all the procedures and collect the data to see if there is commercial viability.
“We’re at the very early stages of that,” he said.
In July, B.C. Hydro awarded 38 contracts for independent power projects and three of them were for wind farms – Dokie Wind Project near Chetwynd, which should produce 536 gigawatts per year, the Bear Mountain Wind Park near Dawson Creek, which should produce 371 gigawatts per year, and the Mount Hays Wind Farm near Prince Rupert, which should produce 72 gigawatts per year.
by Mark Nielsen, Citizen staff
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