British Columbia's provincial electric utility, BC Hydro, has identified 19 "priority" locations along Canada's west coast for the installation of wind turbines. "It's very challenging," says Andrea Estergaard, who has been appointed to conduct the feasibility study. She says the north and south ends of Vancouver Island and the far north of the province hold the greatest promise, but heavy forest, poor road access and steep topography all conspire to slow the progress to capture some of Canada's strongest wind resources. Still, Estergaard hopes to find a couple of sites that can each take four or five 2 MW turbines. "The study is supposed to find out if this is feasible and what the next steps are," she says, explaining that she hopes to have three monitoring towers installed in the next few months. "Within six months we'll have a good idea of how things are going." She expects the first test site will be near an aboriginal community on a tiny island between northern Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland. BC Hydro hopes to form a partnership with the Namgis First Nation band, which will help with installation, data collection and maintenance. BC Hydro's wind energy research is part of a recently announced initiative to acquire 10% of new energy from renewable resources.
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