British Columbia finalises new Crown land lease policy

The province of British Columbia (BC) has finalised a new Crown land lease policy, laying out the rental fees for wind power developers who want access to the more than 95% of BC's land base that is publicly owned. Developers will get a rental holiday for the first ten years of commercial operation. Starting in year 11, they will pay lease fees on a sliding scale of gross revenues, starting at 1% for sites where the annual capacity factor is less than 25% and increasing to 3% where the annual capacity factor is 40% or higher. The structure, says BC energy minister Richard Neufeld, is designed to "ease the financial risk" for developers and allow the industry to develop and mature -- an approach that has earned praise from the province's wind producers. "The provincial government has worked diligently for two years with the BC power sector and other stakeholders to develop the best wind tenure policy in Canada," says Ron Percival, who chairs the wind committee of the Independent Power Producers of BC. "It balances the opportunities of wind development fairly with the needs of the province to obtain an appropriate return." British Columbia has no installed wind power capacity, but there are currently 169 tenure applications for sites on public lands and more than 2000 MW of projects at various stages of development throughout the province.