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More wind power projects slated for Merritt

Two wind energy projects currently in the development stage could see up to 14 more turbines added to the Pennask Plateau along the Okanagan Connector between Merritt and Kelowna.

Though the projects likely won’t break ground until 2019 at the earliest, the Seabreeze Power Corporation completed environmental studies for the two projects last year. The company is now in the permitting stage; aiming to get approval on a development plan from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Combined, the projects could generate enough electricity to power more than 10,000 households annually from two 15-megawatt installations of up to seven turbines.

The precise number of turbines which will be installed won’t be set in stone until closer to the construction date, as more efficient, bigger turbines continue to be developed, explained James Griffiths, manager of wind development for Seabreeze.

Both projects would be installed near the Elkhart Lake exit on Highway 97C; the Wart wind farm closer to the highway, and the Pothole site north of Paradise Lake.

About 20 people attended a recent info session in Merritt, hosted by Seabreeze Power Corp., added Griffiths.

He noted that the proposed projects would be similar in size and visibility to Okanagan Wind project, which began generating electricity last year.

That project also consists of multiple turbines at two sites along the Okanagan Connector between Merritt and Kelowna. Five turbines are visible from the highway at the Pennask Plateau, while five more are further back at the Shinish site.

Griffiths aims to have the projects begin commercial operations by 2020.