After being put on hold in late August 2011, Finavera Wind Energy’s Tumbler Ridge Wind Project is back under review by the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO).
The project was put on hold after a request for more information from the EAO, who were looking for more information about the project’s effect on birds and bats, noise concerns, visual effects, and impacts on a guide outfitter are among the areas
The project was halted 147 days into the 180 day review process, and has been on hold for 157 days, nearly doubling the expected time for the process. “We’re looking at how this affects our timeline,” says Finavera spokesperson Myke Clark. “We think we could compress the construction schedule and get it done by the end of this year, but that would carry a whole lot of risk. So we’re changing the expected completion date to 2013.”
While the construction has been delayed, it isn’t, say Clark, that big an issue. “We’re looking at a 25-year project,” says Clark. “A change of six months, or even a year isn’t going to be that problematic.”
At the time the project was halted, Clark said the delay was expected to last about a month, but it took over five months to satisfy the requirements set out in the letter. Clark says that compiling the information, especially updating the section on the cumulative effects of the project, took longer than expected.
Now that the process is back on track, the EAO has until February 29 to review the information, then produce a report to pass on to Environment Minister Terry Lake and Energy Minister Rich Coleman, who will in turn have 45 days to assess the application and decided whether or not to issue the Environmental Assessment Certificate.
The 47-megawatt Tumbler Ridge project is slated to be built ten kilometres southwest of Tumbler Ridge. It is one of four projects Finavera has under development in the Tumbler Ridge/Chetwynd area.
The review process for the 77-megawatt Wildmare project near Chetwynd was also halted in August, pending additional information similar to the information requested for the Tumbler Ridge project. Clark is unwilling to say when they will have all the information to the EAO, but Clark expects the timeline suspension should soon be lifted there, as well. “We wanted to get Tumbler out first,” say Clark. The information gathered for the Tumbler Ridge project will form a template for the larger Wildmare project.
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