Could the West Boundary be the future home to wind farms?

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
January 7th, 2010

A project to investigate the potential for developing a wind power generation system has been approved by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary in the Tuzo Creek area of the West Boundary. Located west of Beaverdell, this site is one of two locations chosen by Windstream Energy Inc. to start testing and monitoring initial wind potential. Once the test results are examined, development of the area for wind power is proposed to start within 48 months.

Hally Hofmeyer, project co-ordinator for B.C., explained that the chosen sites, one of which is in the Okanagan at Solco Creek and the other being the Tuzo Creek location, were chosen because of the proximity to power transmission lines and the geographic features of the sites.

“The project is really to see if there is any potential. What we have done so far is we’ve run climatic models which show possible potential in this area. There’s a whole bunch of areas that we’ve identified, but these are the focus areas. The project is to put up met (meteorological) towers to measure the wind direction, consistency, strength, humidity, and a bunch of other measurements,” said Hofmeyer.

Hofmeyer said the testing will be done over a one-to-three-year period to determine whether or not the area will be good for development. At that stage they will start the process to do the environmental assessments and other protocols required to develop the wind power generation farm.

Windstream chose the two sites as a result of narrowing down choices of possible locations across B.C. While some areas definitely show better potential for wind generation, Hofmeyer said that the wind farm also needs to be near to where the demand for power is located, as well as access to the power grid.

“In the end it all comes down to the potential. You can have wonderful potential on the northwest coast of B.C. but it’s far from load and you’re far from the grid. The opposite can happen in south central – you’re close to load, close to grid, but the potential’s not really there,” said Hofmeyer.

Regional director for area E, Bill Baird, sees this test project as a positive development for the area and would like to encourage more alternative energy options.

“I definitely support any renewable energy source – wind farms and solar power. I’d like to see a solar farm here too – but that’s not going to happen until we get a better rate from Fortis (FortisBC a division of Fortis Inc.),” said Baird. Baird said that Fortis has not been offering high enough rates on purchased power that would encourage the development of different sources.

The type of wind tower that could be used on the site is determined by the data being collected by the met towers, explained Hofmeyer, and the power could potentially be sold to the B.C. Transmission Corp. which manages the province’s power grid. Windstream Energy is based in Ontario and most of their developments are in the east with some in the United States and in Europe and have a successful history in similar projects. The company is also known for its positive relations with First Nations organizations in their development process. Currently there are only two existing wind projects in B.C.


Windstream Energy Inc

Categories: General