Vancouver-based NaiKun Wind Development Inc has finalised the terms of reference for the environmental assessment (EA) of an offshore wind project that it hopes to bid into BC Hydro's upcoming 2008 call for power. The terms of reference are essentially a road map for undertaking the studies needed to obtain an environmental permit for the project. They are developed with regulators and the public in advance of a formal EA application to ensure all potential impacts are considered. NaiKun initiated the process in 2003 and held two separate public comment periods to obtain feedback on the terms of reference before they were accepted by British Columbia's environmental assessment office in December. "This is an important step forward for NaiKun," says CEO Ray Castelli. "The next step is to continue gathering information, move ahead with the approved studies, collect the necessary data and prepare the final analysis for our formal application submission expected in late 2008." NaiKun wants to build a 320 MW wind farm in Hecate Strait off the coast of British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, also known as Haida Gwaii. The project, which will consist of 67-110 turbines, is the first phase of a planned 1750 MW installation. Much of the public comment so far centres on concerns about the impact of turbine construction and operation on seabirds and marine life, particularly the rich crab fishing grounds in the strait.