11. Big wind in British Columbia
Blog: A tale of two wind farms
While British Columbia might have a reputation as a verdant hippy haven it might surprise you to learn that B.C just got its first three wind farms in the last few years.
The story of how wind got started in BC is a tale of two dramatically different approaches to energy development – one a local, community-based energy cooperative and the other a large, corporate energy company.
British Columbia’s Peace region is the economic engine of Canada’s third most populous province. Home to the massive Montney and Horn River natural gas plays companies like Encana and Chesapeake have set up shop and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in people, infrastructure and equipment in order to get their hands on trillions of cubic feet of natural gas.
But there is another resource in the area that is just starting to be exploited. It’s a resource where the fuel costs are zero and will last until the sun decides to go supernova – the wind.
The Peace Region is home to B.C.’s only three wind farms, but the story of how it all got started starts not in some corporate boardroom, but around a kitchen table in Dawson Creek. More…
Podcast: Wind energy in BC's Peace region - A growth industry amongst the natural gas wells
It's the cold winter winds that drive the wind turbines in British Columbia's Peace region and it's the song Winter Winds by Mumford and Sons that kicks off this week's podcast. We explore the stories of two large wind projects in B.C. Check it out.
Quality Wind Project Facts
- Installed capacity is expected to be 142.2 MW from 79 Vestas 1.8 MW turbines;
- Each tower will be 95 metres high (from base to centre of hub);
- 22 km, 230 KV transmission line, collector lines and substation;
- Visible from some areas, such as along Highway 52, but not from Tumbler Ridge;
- In March 2010, B.C. Hydro awarded Capital Power an Electricity Purchase Agreement (EPA) for the QWP
- Slated to become operation in November of 2012
Bear Mountain Wind Park Facts
- Opened in October 2009
- delivers enough clean, renewable electricity to power most of B.C.'s South Peace region
- The power from the project is sold to BC Hydro under a 25-year contract.
- Bear Mountain Wind Park features a single row of 34 3-MW Enercon E-82 wind turbine generators.
- Each turbine is 78-metres tall to the hub.
- The turbines are placed at minimum, 160-metres apart along the ridge of Bear Mountain.
- The site, which covers approximately 25 hectares, is still used for cattle grazing and by the public for hiking, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and other recreational activities.
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.
Bear Mountain Wind Park Brochure
Information on the Bear Mountain Wind Park from the site's majority owner, Altagas. GO >
Tags: Wind Power
Capital Power Wind Turbine Brochure
Quality Wind Project Fact Sheet
Photos from a blade signing event where Tumbler Ridge residents got a chance to sign one of the turbines generating power for their community - Facebook
Created by the Dawson Creek Tourism this video gives you an idea of the size and scale of wind park as well as it's relationship to the community - Youtube
A photo gallery from Peace Energy Cooperative - PEC