An offshore wind farm development in the Hecate Strait is diving into new waters and looking for direction.
The NaiKun Wind Energy Group, the company proposing a wind farm in the shallow waters northeast of the Queen Charlotte Islands, is the first company in Canada to have officially entered into the environmental assessment process for an offshore wind farm.
Archie Riddell, project assessment director of the provincial environmental assessment office, said NaiKun has submitted its draft terms of reference and now it is the public’s turn to comment.
“At this stage, the proponent [NaiKun] works with government agencies to identify the material that will go into the application – what issues are out there and how do they propose to deal with them,” Riddell said.
“The terms of reference are a really important part of the process because it does guide the content of the final application.”
The project is unique as this is the first time an offshore wind farm has gone through an environmental assessment in Canada. As such, there are no other examples for government or the public to draw upon.
“This is Canada’s first offshore wind proposal and there is a lot of interest as you can imagine in green energy and innovation and this projects excites people,” he said.
The public comment period on the draft terms of reference ends April 28. After that, NaiKun will review government and public comment, and address those issues.
“Then they’ll want to finalize their terms of reference so they can get out in the field and do the work that will support their application,” he said.
After the company submits its application, the public will get another opportunity to comment.
NaiKun is proposing to build a five phase 1,750 megawatt wind farm, however the environmental assessment is only for the first phase.
This includes between 67 and 110 turbines that generate 350 megawatts and cover an area approximately 36 square kilometres on Dogfish Banks.
The electricity from the turbines will be gathered via sea cables at an offshore substation and transmitted to the mainland, interconnecting with BC Hydro’s 287-kV power line at a point near Prince Rupert.
The planned transmission route may cross Porcher and Smith Islands with overhead transmission lines.
The 30-day public comment period began March 30.
The draft terms of reference and information on submissions are available at www.eao.gov.bc.ca
Filing the draft terms of reference is just one highlight for the company in 2006.
At is annual general meeting in Vancouver on March 30, Michael Burns, chairman, noted the company also secured funding of more than $9 million through two separate offerings to the investment community.
It also secured a contribution from the ENMAX strategic partnership as well as the exercise of warrants and stock options.
Leanne Ritchie, CanWest News Service
19 April 2007
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