The first offshore wind energy project to be developed in Canada’s waters may soon become a reality after British Columbia-based renewable energy company NaiKun Wind Energy Group and the Council of the Haida Nation formed a partnership that will operate and maintain the NaiKun wind energy project after construction.
The NaiKun project is to be located in British Columbia’s Hecate Strait, between the mainland and the Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. The area is the traditional territory of the Haida, the indigenous people of the area.
The agreement provides benefits to the Haida Nation from the project, including revenue sharing, environmental stewardship and employment and economic development opportunities.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2012. The project could have up to 110 turbines, installed off the east coast of Haida Gwaii. Energy generated from the turbines will be collected at an offshore substation in the center of the project and converted into electricity, which will be transmitted to the mainland by a subsea cable. NaiKun’s proposal was to provide up to 396 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power approximately 130,000 homes.
The project is contingent upon receipt of environmental approvals from the Haida Nation and through the harmonized federal/provincial environmental assessment process, and the award of an Electricity Purchase Agreement from BC Hydro.
Features of the project include the following:
– Wind energy is one of the cleanest, most abundant and cost-effective resources for electricity generation. Wind speeds over water are generally greater than on land which makes the energy from offshore wind projects more consistent and efficient. Offshore wind projects similar to NaiKun’s are successfully operating in Europe and several are being considered throughout North America.
– NaiKun recently signed a letter of intent with Siemens Wind Power regarding the supply of up to 110 wind turbine generators. Turbines will be installed in 2013 and 2014. Siemens Wind Power is a global leader in the development and installation of wind power solutions with more than 7,000 installed turbines.
– NaiKun has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Siemens Canada Limited’s Power, Transmission and Distribution Division for the transmission components of the project.
Superior Wind Resource and Favourable Site:
– Hecate Strait has some of the strongest, most consistent winds in Canada. Based on data collected, the NaiKun project site is located within an area with mean annual wind speeds between 9.5 and 10 metres per second. The actual mean wind speed during the first full year of measurement was 10.1 metres per second. This region has the potential to become one of the most efficient and high-producing wind project locations in the world.
– The shallow and sandy seabed at the NaiKun project site is well suited to offshore construction. As well, additional project phases can be implemented as needed to meet the future energy needs of British Columbians. This proposal covers the first of five phases for the wind power development.
“The Haida people support development that brings benefits of all kinds – individual, commercial and environmental – to Haida Gwaii and to the Haida Nation,” said Guujaaw, president of the Haida Nation. “We fully believe that, subject to confirmation of environmental feasibility, this offshore project will bring significant long-term benefits to the Haida Nation. For these reasons we are proud to be participants in the project.”
NaiKun Chairman Michael C. Burns said, “This agreement is the result of many years of working together and it reflects the commitment from both partners to move this project forward. NaiKun will gain from the knowledge and insight of the Haida and welcomes the thoughtful support of the Nation and its leaders.”