BC Hydro has reached a deal with the Axor Group of Montreal, Quebec, to jointly develop a 10 MW wind demonstration project on Vancouver Island. Axor is the developer of Quebec's 100 MW Le Nordais wind plant. The utility says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Axor, an engineering and energy company selected after a public call for tenders that attracted proposals from 14 Canadian and foreign companies. BC Hydro vice president Gary Rodford says Axor's ability to mount large scale projects at competitive prices was a factor in its selection. "They are the biggest owner of wind generation in Canada and bring with them strong commercial development skills and experience." The Vancouver Island wind turbines are expected to be generating power by mid-2003. Over the next nine to 12 months the partners will conduct detailed wind studies to ensure the project is situated in the "best possible" location on the Island. Axor's Pierre-Guy Charette says that once the initial 10 MW project is completed the partners intend to develop wind energy facilities with a total capacity of more than 100 MW. The wind farm is part of BC Hydro's planned 20 MW green energy demonstration project, which will also include micro hydro and ocean wave power. Vancouver Island was selected for the demonstration because new energy and capacity resources are required to meet growing energy demand there. The island currently relies on the mainland for 80% of its electricity.