A Richmond firm has completed a major step in building what could be B.C.’s first operating wind farm.
Katabatic Power Corp., a privately-held developer of wind power, has an agreement with Montreal-based AAER Inc. for the sale of 17 of its 1.5-megawatt wind turbines for use near Prince Rupert.
“This is a major advancement in the project,” said Jonathan Raymond, chief operating officer of Katabatic.
“In our business, securing wind turbines is a very important step because it’s such a competitive market for turbines in North America,” he said.
“There are so many projects going in North America, wind power is so hot, that all of the utilities are trying to increase their renewable energy and the manufacturing end of it hasn’t kept up to speed. For us to have turbines available in 2007 was a major victory.”
The deal is worth between $35 million and $80 million, including future options and related maintenance contracts. The range is wide because Katabatic may opt to purchase an additional 17 turbines from AAER to build a second phase of the project in 2008 at Mount Hays, on Kaien Island, south of Prince Rupert.
Raymond said the initial 17 turbines are expected to be delivered in September or October. Following that, the wind farm could be up and running in about eight weeks.
Once completed, the Mount Hays facility will generate enough electricity for approximately 12,000 homes. Last summer, B.C. Hydro entered into an electricity purchase agreement with Katabatic.
Key to the deal is technology transferred from Germany’s Fuhrlander-Pfleiderer, a pioneer of the wind-generation industry in Europe.
AAER has the right to use the German company’s wind technology across North America.
Katabatic, which has an office in San Francisco, also has plans for a much larger 3,000-megawatt facility on Banks Island, also near Prince Rupert.
That project is subject to being accepted in B.C. Hydro’s 2007 call for tenders.
Raymond said B.C. has some of the most undeveloped wind resources in the world.
“There is a lot of potential on Vancouver Island and on the north coast,” he said. Although Katabatic’s project would be the first wind farm in B.C., two others are working to the same end and also have deals with B.C. Hydro.
Dokie Wind Energy Inc. of Victoria plans a 180-megawatt project 40 kilometres west of Chetwynd to be operating in 2009.
As well, Dawson Creek residents formed Bear Mountain Wind and propose to build a 120-megawatt farm near the town.
By Jim Jamieson, The Province
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