The cooperative was awarded with a Group Leadership Award for its role in developing the Bear Mountain Wind Park, British Columbia's first commercial wind farm, which was officially commissioned in October, 2009. The cooperative initiated the project and was responsible for securing an investigative use permit for it in 2004, before AltaGas was brought in to develop and construct the wind farm.
"It is a huge honour, because CanWEA is a national organization that is very well respected," said Nicola Peacey, executive director of Peace Energy Cooperative, on receiving the award.
She added the 434 members of the cooperative – most of whom are residents of Dawson Creek and area, but also many others from all over the Peace region and the country – really deserve the credit for the award.
"It is the vision of the members of the cooperative and their desire to leave a legacy for their children of a greener planet that has allowed the cooperative to have this success," she said.
The Bear Mountain Wind Park generates 102 megawatts of power at peak output, enough to power 35,000 homes, or roughly the entire South Peace region. Peacey said the cooperative is certainly proud to have the project as a lasting legacy to benefit the city and the region, especially one in such a beautiful location as Bear Mountain.
"It's second-to-none, you can't find conditions like these that are as stunning anywhere."
The project is British Columbia's first commercial wind farm, but the Dokie Wind Energy Project near Chetwynd has since come on-line and is the province's largest wind farm. CanWEA notes six new projects are anticipated to come online by 2014, bringing the province's total capacity for wind energy to 784 megawatts. In its recently released report entitled WindVision 2025: A Strategy for British Columbia, CanWEA projects that the province could meet 17 per cent of its projected demand for electricity through wind power by 2025.
"I think it is a realistic goal, so long as we have the policies in place in order for us to fully capitalize on the availability of wind power," said Peacey, adding that much of that will be determined by BC Hydro.
She added the Peace region will undoubtedly continue to play a significant role in the development of that capacity.
"We have world-class wind here in the Peace region, and that is something we should really shout about."
Peacey said the cooperative is always looking for more renewable energy projects, especially in wind energy, to develop and invest in, though she couldn't divulge any information on specific proposals at this time.