The IPP Sea Breeze Power is launching a $300 million shovel-ready wind farm at the northern end of Vancouver Island, BC. The Cape Scott project will feature 55 Vestas turbines that will generate close to 100MW. It took ten years to develop in partnership with three First Nations and will be the first wind farm on the coast of British Columbia. It is expected to come on line in early 2013. Two other plants are already in operation in the north-east of the province.
“The wind resource on Vancouver Island is one of the most economic in the world”, said Sea Breeze President and CEO, Paul Manson. “We collected four years of wind data, had twelve sites on an investigative use permit and ended up one of three bidders out of 19 to be approved by BC Hydro,” added project manager James Griffiths.
The project is built on low productivity wetlands with little bird habitat and no migratory routes observed on the radar surveys.
The low energy costs in BC due to its large hydro capacity makes new generation more costly than current rates. With the cost of wind energy decreasing, it has now become competitive. In addition, it offers the advantages of no volatility, only a 10% year-over-year output variance, and a generation curve that matches seasonal demand.
Vancouver Island is becoming a showcase for clean technology with a tidal energy plant, a municipal solar home initiative, a carbon-offset biomass plant (Pacific Carbon Trust), a planned First Nations WtE plant, solar, and now wind generation.