Vancouver developer Sea Breeze clears major permit hurdle

Sea Breeze Power, a Vancouver wind developer, has cleared a major hurdle in its efforts to build the C$700 million Knob Hill wind project at the northern end of Vancouver Island. It now has in hand an environmental assessment certificate from the British Columbia (BC) government, marking the first time a utility-scale wind project has been reviewed and approved under the province's Environmental Assessment Act. When complete, the 450 MW wind station will include 150 wind turbines, access roads and bridges, a substation and a transmission line. The approval requires Sea Breeze to develop detailed environmental protection plans for fisheries and fish habitat, erosion and sediment control, vegetation and wildlife protection and archaeology monitoring, and to monitor the project's impact on wildlife, particularly birds and bats. The company has also agreed to consult with the Quatsino and Tlatlasikwala First Nations at all phases of project development. The region's elected representative in BC's legislative assembly, Rod Visser, announced the approval, touting wind as a "brand new industry" that brings economic benefits including jobs. So far, BC has no installed wind capacity. While Sea Breeze has an environmental permit, it is still seeking markets for Knob Hill's power. It plans to bid in future BC Hydro calls for power and is even looking at opportunities south of the Canadian border. Earlier this year it responded to a request for proposals, issued in Oregon by PacifiCorp power company, for 1100 MW of new renewables over seven years.