October 21, 2013 - 1:00 PM
THOMPSON-NICOLA REGIONAL DISTRICT – Pennask Summit area reaches higher than 1,600 metres, resulting in sudden weather changes, high winds and amazing panoramic views.
It is also an ideal place to harness wind power, according to one company looking to move forward on several wind farm projects.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District is being asked to support two general area licenses of occupation for the Pennask area project, which could see more than a dozen 95 metre high turbines installed near the Pennask Protected Area.
While about 30 other investigative licenses have been issued in the district over the past three years for potential wind energy sites, this is the first one to result in an application for development. It is also one of the larger projects to reach this stage in B.C. Four major projects currently collect a capacity of nearly 400 megawatts of power.
Wind energy has been identified as having the necessary resources for this type of power and a couple hundred investigative licenses have been issued over the last decade across the province. Provinces such as Quebec, Ontario and Alberta have been harnessing wind power through larger farms for as much as 15 years already.
The company to make the application, Zero Emission Energy Developments, applied to B.C. Lands for two investigative licenses for the Pennask Creek Provincial Park area in 2010. Meteorological towers were use to confirm the viability of the area.
After a 'significant' public consultation process a 300 page report looking at potential impacts was submitted. The area is popular for fishing and other recreation and it is anticipated the turbines will be visible to those travelling at higher elevations. The project falls within all necessary policies and bylaws-the sites are far enough from Pennask Lake and no watercourses are expected to be affected by the towers.
The turbines, which would feature 49 metre long rotor blades, would generate two megawatts of 'installed capacity' each, for a total of 15 megawatts per project. Construction is expected to take about 16 months.
The company recently got the necessary blessings to move forward with a similar size project near Summerland from the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen board. It is also working on a major project in the Peace River region, an area that is considered one of the best in the province for harnessing wind power.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013