Flood of responses includes offshore too -- BC's call for green power

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Three wind projects with a combined capacity of more than 750 MW are among the 70 proposals BC Hydro received in response to its call for 800 GWh of green power. The utility released a request for qualifications (RFQ) to independent power producers in October and received bids for 1000 MW of projects with a combined annual output of about 5500 GWh. About two-thirds are for small hydro, while the remainder use wind, biogas, biomass, coal bed methane and ocean wave technologies.

"We are delighted with the large number of responses," says BC Hydro's Bev Van Ruyven. "It clearly demonstrates the readiness of private sector developers to invest in the development of new, clean energy generation in our province." The utility is reducing the submissions to a shortlist of projects that will be invited to submit a priced bid. It expects to sign contracts by the fall, with the power to come online by the end of September 2006.

Michael Margolick of Vancouver's Nai Kun Wind Development does not expect his company's 700 MW offshore wind project to be completed by then, but saw the RFQ as a way to open up discussions with the province's monopoly government-owned utility. "We're kind of the guerrilla," he says. "We didn't conform in timing or size with the requirements of the green call, but ours, and I expect many other plans, were submitted because you've got to put your hand in the ring."

ABB partner

Nai Kun, a subsidiary of Uniterre Resources, is partnering with ABB New Ventures to build the US$1 billion wind farm off Haida Gwai in British Columbia's Hecate Strait (Windpower Monthly, March 2002). It hopes to have the first ten turbines commissioned in late summer 2005, followed by a three or four year construction period.

Stothert Power Corporation, a Vancouver-based newcomer to the wind industry, has partnered with California's Global Renewable Energy Partners, to propose a 50 MW project located on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. The project is spread over two sites and the partners plan to install monitoring equipment on both in the next few months, says company president Winston Stothert. "We could deliver power late in 2004."

Although the company is new to wind, it has developed biomass and hydro projects over its 20 year history, says Stothert. Although those facilities are owned by others, Stothert Power's goal with wind is to be an owner and operator. The company has laid claim to a number of other sites on the island's northwest coast with a combined estimated wind power potential of 200-300 MW.

The third wind proposal submitted to BC Hydro is a project on Gabriola Island, in the Strait of Georgia and home to about 4000 people. Randyn Seibold, speaking for Off The Grid Energy Systems, says the company is looking at installing up to three wind turbines in the 600 kW range in partnership with a local landowner. "Right now it's basically at the research stage. Once we know how much wind we have and how the community feels about it, then we'll be in a better position to move forward with it."

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