Recent History – 2004-2006
July 13, 2004, By Gary Rusak, Daily News Staff
Land and Water British Columbia has finally approved the first permit for the Peace Energy Co-operative to begin working towards a wind farm on the Bear Mountain Ridge just southwest of Dawson Creek.
“It has been quite exciting,” said Bill Studley, general manager of the co-op. “Basically our next step is to survey the area to find the best place to put the monitoring equipment.”
The investigative use permit took the co-op almost a year of legal wrangling to secure. With help from South Peace MLA Blair Lekstrom, former manager David Kidd and more than a little patience, the group persevered.
“It has been quite a ride,” said Studley. “This permit is the light at the end of what’s been a long tunnel. We are ready to get things moving.”
On the bureaucratic side of things the group must now file for a license of occupation and a final long-term development permit, but for the time being Studley is happy with the Peace Energy’s progress.
“We are probably two years away from having the wind park permanently set up,” he said. “We still have to do the monitoring and then the environmental assessment, but at this point things are looking really good.”
Bear Mountain has been identified as a prime location for a wind power production by various studies including one released by BC Hydro late last year. The group believes that the site could hold up to 50 towers and possibly produce 50 megawatts, a significant amount of power.
“We will soon open negotiations with B.C. Hydro to get a test turbine hooked up to the grid,” said Studley adding that Peace Energy would be the first to have a wind turbine in British Columbia feeding ‘green power’ into B.C.’s power grid.
As well, the co-op is looking to partner with a bigger firm to help them develop the wind power site.
“We are in negotiations with several companies,” he said. “I would expect that we would have another announcement in the next couple weeks.”
Maybe the biggest immediate spin-off for the group has been a marked increase in membership since the permit was awarded.
“It has been amazing,” said Studley. “We are right now at about 125 members but if you call me back in an hour it will probably go up by two or three.”