Recent History – 2004-2006
By Lee Kaiser, January 31, 2006
And then there were three. Peace Energy Co-operative and Aeolis Wind Power have joined with a Calgary-based oil and gas utility, AltaGas, in their bid to build a wind park on Bear Mountain.
“We’ve come together with a larger partner out of Calgary which is an oil and gas trust utility. And they’re looking to make the transition into renewables so it’s a really good partnership,” Aeolis director TJ Schur said Thursday at the regular meeting of the Peace River Regional District.
The two original partners have been searching for over a year for another investor in the proposed multi-million dollar project to build 60 wind-powered turbines by 2008. Schur explained that since the project started last year, Peace Energy and Aeolis have been mainly concerned with preparing a bid aimed at selling energy to B.C. Hydro for the 2006 Call For Power. At over $1 million per turbine, the project will cost at least $60 million with the bulk of funding from bank financing, she said. Bid tenders close on April 6 with contracts awarded in August. Schur said they were on target to bid Bear Mountain at approximately 120 megawatts for the first phase. The bid is a long-term 25-year purchase agreement.
They would be bidding alongside other new generation power sources such as coal, gas, hydro, storage hydro, and other wind projects.
“It’s rather a complicated process but we’re up to the challenge. We met the first three markers, and on Feb. 1 we have our plant description due which will show where the turbines are, where the roads and transmission and substation will be. And once that’s laid down, as well as working with the environmental assessment, we will bring that to the public at the Peace Energy AGM March 11,” she said.
Schur gave directors an overview of the new company, Bear Mountain Wind LP (Limited Partnership), and explained the bid process, the environmental assessment stage they were presently in, and how the community could get involved in the park. The partners want to set up an informal community advisory committee which would meet two or three times a year and suggested technical support from the regional district would be a valuable addition at the table. There were a number of regional opportunities, not the least of which was a long-term sustainable tax base, said Schur. They see a broader vision for the planned interpretive centre which would also encourage tourists to visit Dawson Creek for a longer time.
“We think it’s an opportunity to talk about not just wind energy but community and First Nations here.”
She admitted a view of the wind turbines could evoke positive feelings for some and negative feelings for others.
“But this project will likely offset all the energy needs of Dawson Creek with green energy. That’s a big impactual thing to say ‘Mile Zero – Zero Emissions.’ That’s what I’ve been plugging now for a year,” said Schur.
There would be educational opportunities in both the schools and college and possible manufacturing spin-offs for products, such as power blades.
“If wind power is a viable process here in the B.C. Peace, let’s work hard to see that some of those jobs come here,” she said. PRRD directors lauded the project following Thursday’s presentation and gave the proponents a letter of support which will be forwarded to B.C. Hydro.