Thursday, September 26, 2013

Large wind energy project proposed for the CRD

TimberWest and EDP Renewables Canada announced today that they are partnering to develop about 300 MW capacity of wind energy near Sooke.   It is a relatively large development which is great news because it will significantly increase green power production in BC.

At the moment we do not produce enough power on Vancouver Island to meet our local needs.  This project would be an important step to seeing the island produce enough power locally.

The details:
  • The expected cost to build these wind projects is about $600,000,000 to $750,000,000.   
  • This scale of installed wind capacity is likely to produce 600 to 1,200 GWh per year or about 1% to 2% of the electrical power used in BC at the moment.
  • Realistically it will require between 50 and 100 wind turbines.
  • The location is on to be on TimberWest lands near Sooke
  • It is close to the existing BC Hydro transmission grid 
TimberWest and EDP Renewables have signed any agreement with the T'Souke First Nation, which I am impressed by.  It is very important to include First Nations very early in any natural resource development project.

So where would the wind turbines be located?   The area I have circled in black are the most likely locations for the turbines.  It is on TimberWest land, it is the first ridge coming off of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and it is reasonably close to the BC Hydro transmission line that starts in Jordan River.  Being close to the existing transmission grid makes all new power projects much more affordable.

Here is a panorama of the eastern most extent of the ridge - the picture is from Google Streetview.   

If I find a better picture of the ridge I will post it on here

One final important consideration.  Wind power really fluctuates making it hard to have consistent power.   Ideally you need a way to store some of the power to even out the load.   The reservoirs at Jordan River have been analysed by BC Hydro for pumped storage and there is some potential for this.   The orginal memo only considered hydro and not any potential for using pumped storage for wind power.

I am curious the role the CRD will have in any approvals of this project, I worry they might interfere with it and slow down or stop the development of more green power in BC.

All in all I think this is a great project and I hope it gets off of the ground very quickly.

No comments: