Yesterday, the ambitious plan to develop wind power generating capacity in Hecate Strait was granted a second extension by the province's Environmental Assessment Office.
With Naikun Wind Development now being provided with another five years to develop their project, with the provision that the wind energy project must show substantial progress by December 10th of 2019.
Naikun had originally been granted an Environmental Assessment Certificate for their project back in December of 2009, the original process based on the prospect that work would have to be underway by December 10th of 2014.
As we close in on that date, which could have seen the proposal come to an end, Naikun has reviewed for the EAO some of the difficulties that they have had in securing an Electricity Purchase Agreement with BC Hydro, citing that stumbling block as the primary reason for the lack of progress on the project to date.
The additional five year extension will now give Naikun more time to make its case for the provincial hydro company.
In both a correspondence from July between the EAO and Naikun, and the subsequent review report from the EAO, the full range of the extension request and concerns related to the project are outlined.
On the theme of project concerns, among those groups that Naikun offered up a replies towards as part of the EA process were Northern Health, the Gitxaala Nation and the Canadian Wildlife Service Branch of Environment Canada.
A review of the request for extension from July can be found here , while the issues raised by interested groups can be reviewed here as part of the Certificate Extension report.
Should the wind farm proposal ever make it to the development phase, it would make for quite the visual sight for an area just east of the shores of Haida Gwaii.
The Naikun project would feature up to 110 wind turbines, positioned on 80 metre towers to be anchored to the seabed over an area of 156 kilometres in Hecate Strait.
An underwater cable and overland transmission line would connect up with BC Hydro's grid at Ridley Island, while another marine cable and required infrastructure would also provide electricity to Graham Island on Haida Gwaii, near Tlell.
|Naikun Wind Farm Proposal for Hecate Strait near Haida Gwaii|
With the extension of five more years, Naikun can continue to try and secure their elusive energy agreement with BC Hydro and with that step achieved, move forward the actual construction phase of the proposed wind farm.
However, there are no guarantees that there will be any progress in that prospect in the immediate future, in recent months BC Hydro has been cancelling some of their IPP contracts owing to cost.
That will be one aspect of any future delivery that Naikun will have to address, should they hope to secure that much desired arrangement with the Hydro company.
You can read the extension notice from the EAO here.
More on Naikun Wind Energy Group and their Hecate Strait proposal can be found on their website
Key to their hopes will be joining the ranks of the 92 Independent Power Producers currently supplying power to BC Hydro through their IPP Program.
Until Naikun can find success with that approach, we probably won't see much in the way of forward momentum in Hecate Strait.