08. Awesome Dawson Creek: A northern oil and gas town bets big on renewable energy

Tags: Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind

Published June 20, 2012

Blog: Dawson Creek – A near carbon neutral city in the middle of northeastern B.C.’s shale gas boom

Dawson Creek is in the heart of oil and gas country in the Northern Rockies and is famously located at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. Yet, everywhere you look are signs of green energy. From solar powered speed signs to solar thermal hot water systems on the majority of its public buildings you quickly get a sense that this city is already looking beyond fossil fuels.

The pièce de résistance is the Bear Mountain wind park – 34 wind turbines occupy the western skyline of Dawson Creek like green energy sentinels. The 102-megawatt wind farm consists of 34 German-made Enercon wind turbines that produce much more energy than the 12,000 residents of Dawson Creek need.

Standing in front of one of the giant 78 metre turbines City Councillor Cheryl Shuman smiles wryly when I call it a wind “farm.”

It’s a park not a wind farm she corrects me and rapidly lists off what people use the space for; hiking, climing, picnics, cross-country skiing, ATVing and even birdwatching.   

Bear Mountain was the first large wind project in B.C. and it was developed by a local group of people with considerable public support from residents. In Dawson Creek this commitment to green energy is also evident among politicians, city staff and in the city’s award winning efforts to produce renewable energy, increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

A Happy Accident

Dawson Creek started as an accidental settlement by folks on the road to the Klondike.  Settlers slowly drifted in over the years to homestead and take up farming, but people started arriving in numbers with arrival of the Northern Alberta Railway in 1931.

The City’s head of infrastructure and sustainable development Kevin Henderson says it’s these agricultural roots that have ingrained the concept of sustainability into the people of the region. 


Podcast: How a wind park transformed a city


CKUA logo

As the Sesame Street song goes, Cooperation Makes It Happen, and it was a cooperative - the Peace Energy Energy Cooperative - that made the Bear Mountain Wind Park a reality. That cooperative has also been instrumental both as a source of talent and ideas for the city of Dawson Creek as they've embarked on a radically sustainable journey.


Learn about they made it happen in this week's podcast.


Podcast: I Don't Want To Wait - So Dawson Creek didn't and embarked on a super ambitious sustainability plan

CKUA logo

When you hear that particular refrain from singer Paula Cole it's hard to associate it with anything but the show 

Dawson's Creek. Well, we just had to use it for opening sound effects for our latest episode on Dawson Creek, a 

small city of 12,000 in northeastern British Columbia.



These resources relate to this episode. They may be helpful in many ways, but we list them only for your information. This is not an endorsement of any of these programs, services or organizations and we make no guarantees about the products or services these companies or organizations may offer.

BC Climate Action Charter

Most B.C. communities have made the commitment to become carbon neutral by 2012. Out of 188 municipalities, 180 have signed theB.C. Climate Action Charter. GO >

Tags: Renewable Energy

Dawson Creek’s Energy Plan

A wide ranging plan that covered everything from city vehicles to street lights.  GO >

Tags: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

Edmonton's Renewable Energy Task Force Report

Read the report that is shaping Edmonton's renewable energy future GO >

Tags: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

Planning for People - Dawson Creek's sustainability plan

Planning for People is Dawson Creek's site which details Dawson Creek's efforts to be carbon neutral. A useful resource not only for residents but for other municipalities looking to follow in their footsteps GO >

Tags: Electric Vehicles, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Wind


Additional blog post on the super efficient new Passivhaus inspired house in Dawson Creek - Blog

Planning for People is Dawson Creek's site which details Dawson Creek's efforts to be carbon neutral. A useful resource not only for residents but for other municipalities looking to follow in their footsteps - Planning for People

Details on the Bear Mountain Wind Park from BC Hydro

Sustainable Energy – Dawson Creek Leads the Way for Canada - The OGM

Dawson Creek: Green Energy in Gas Country - Flickr Slide Show

Bear Mountain Wind Park - Flickr Slide Show

The Energy Centre at Northern Lights College - Flickr Slide Show

Tour of a Passivhaus Home in Dawson Creek - Flickr Slide Show

Bear Mountain Wind Park - Photos by Don Pettit Peace PhotoGraphics Inc. - Flickr Slide Show

Learn about Canada's first Passivhaus - Green Building Advisor

B.C. community puts its money where its mouth is in the fight against climate change - Pembina Blog