Recent History – 2004-2006
By Gary Rusak, Daily News Staff
The Peace Energy Co-op and its new partner Aeolis WPC made a joint presentation to city council on Monday with an update on plans to build a wind farm on Bear Mountain.
“We weren’t looking for anything in particular,” said Bill Studley, manager of the local co-op. “We just wanted to let them know the possibilities that are out there for the city of Dawson Creek to benefit in being engaged in the development.”
The local group and their Sidney, B.C.-based partners are looking to develop a wind farm at locations on Bear Mountain and possibly the Kiskatinaw Ridge. Since the partnership was struck in October, the groups have been working together to verify wind data information on the site.
Their presentation to city council consisted of detailed maps of the area as well as proposals to have the city partner, in some way, with the project.
“Part of what we were looking at is that city council is about to get engaged in a community energy plan and (we believe) there should be a huge incentive for renewables,” said TJ Schur, director of Aeolis WPC. “That is something that they should be thinking about.”
During the presentation the group also suggested that if a wind park was established on Bear Mountain it could mean another tourism asset
for the city.
“I think they should definitely take a look at the tourism aspects,” said Schur.
Mayor Wayne Dahlen agreed that it could indeed bring more people to the city.
“Those turbines are very exciting,” he said after the meeting. “We could have tours to go see them. I’d like to see one myself. It would be another added attraction that we could show our tourists.”
The group is also looking into the possibility of selling the city a portion of the energy that would be created by the turbines. Although it is far too early to work out the specifics of such a plan, Studley said it was something that the city should be considering.
“Wind power is a natural partner to hydro power,” he said. “When the wind is blowing they can store water behind the Bennett Dam and the Peace Canyon Dam and when the wind is down, and is no longer producing electricity, they have extra water to let out. It helps make a balance.”
Dahlen said it was something that the city would be considering during upcoming strategic planning meetings.
“We have to discuss how involved we want to become in that,” he said. “They are looking for support, mainly they want us to step out and say we will become a user. It is something we will have to look at.”
The city will have ample time to consider the proposal, according to Schur.
At this point the group is at the early stages of testing the viability of the site. The erection of energy producing turbines could be anywhere from 15 months to three years in the future, she said.