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A proposed wind farm off the coast of B.C. is raising questions about the effects it could have on marine animals in the area.
NaiKun Wind Development Inc. is currently in the process of establishing an extensive wind farm project off the north coast of B.C., between Prince Rupert and the Queen Charlotte Islands.
“We are looking at the impact and will be conducting relevant research studies through the environmental impact assessment process,” said company spokeswoman Sara MacIntyre.
The proposed site would be in an area known for its rich marine life and fishing industries, both of which may suffer detrimental effects from its construction and operation.
MacIntyre said the company is reviewing concerns raised by community members during a public consultation period. They questioned the impact the project will have on marine life and fishery operations in the area.
NaiKun must come up with terms of reference for the proposed studies the company will conduct to assess the impact of noise on marine mammal migration, communication and feeding activities at all stages of the project.
It then has to submit the terms to the province’s Environmental Assessment Office which, along with a number of different government agencies, will have input into the detailed study designs.
“The evidence that is emerging worldwide shows that if due diligence is done, wind farms can be an asset and not a liability,” said Jose Etcheverry, a researcher with the David Suzuki Foundation.
He said studies show offshore wind farms can benefit marine life. “Not only does it not impede navigation or any activities, it may enhance marine life for certain species,” he said.
Etcheverry also said noise pollution is not one of the main concerns for the development of offshore wind farms.
“Modern wind turbines are very, very sophisticated machines. The issue of noise, or sometimes people talk about bird kills, that was 30 years ago,” said Etcheverry.
The NaiKun project will help meet goals set out in the B.C. Energy Plan. It calls for a reduction in green house gases of 33 per cent by 2020, and aims to move the province to 90 per cent clean energy resources.
The Canadian Press
10 August 2007
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