BC Hydro prospecting for wind in British Columbia

BC Hydro is boosting its wind prospecting efforts in Canada's western province of British Columbia. The utility recently installed three wind monitoring towers, one on the province's north coast and two on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and plans to erect ten more at strategic locations around the province. "We are targeting to have our first utility-scale demonstration of a wind energy project on-line by the end of 2002," said Hydro vice president Bruce Sampson. The utility is also developing a green energy resource plan, which includes wind, for Vancouver Island, said power supply engineer Andrea Estergaard. The high-voltage transmission line from the mainland is due to be retired in 2007, and the current plan to meet the island's 1400 MW load through combined cycle gas turbines has been met with opposition from residents. While the utility's wind program is in its early stages, said Estergaard, "We're really hoping this becomes a large part of BC's energy supply in the future."