Significant step as British Columbia gets first wind 10 MW farm

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BC Hydro and Axor Group have filed land applications with the provincial government for British Columbia's first wind farm. The 10 MW Rumble Ridge demonstration project will be on public land on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. The submission is a significant step for the project and for wind power in the province, says BC Hydro's Brenda Goehring. "Wind energy has never been the subject of a regulatory approval process in BC and these efforts will help pave the way for future expansion of this site and for other developers in the province," she says. The province owns about 92% of BC's total area of 94.8 million hectares, and manages its use through an agency known as Land and Water BC (LWBC). The joint venture partners have applied to LWBC for a long term lease covering an area of 1400 hectares. About 700 hectares will be required for the wind farm. LWBC will form a project review team to assess the application and will lead the regulatory review process, obtaining input from provincial and federal agencies, as well as the local government and the Quatsino Indian Band. The area will also have to be rezoned to accommodate the intended use, a process led by the Mount Waddington Regional District. The project site is on a timber cut block licensed to Western Forest Products. Most of it has been previously logged and consists of second growth trees of ten to 20 metres in height. The wind farm will consist of eight to 15 wind turbines, depending on the capacity of the units chosen, with a combined annual output of about 26.3 GWh. The partners are considering turbines in the 660 kW to 1.5 MW range. The in-service target date for the demonstration project is fall 2003. If the initial 10 MW proves commercially viable, says BC Hydro, the wind farm could be expanded to about 40 MW.

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