Meikle Wind Energy Project begins construction between Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Patten Energy Group LP., the Meikle Wind Energy Project is located 33 kilometres northwest of Tumbler Ridge, between Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd – running through the traditional territory of Treaty 8 First Nations.

In fact, the involvement and support of First Nations is being credited as “fundamental to the project’s success.”

“In the case of the northeast, there’s a treaty here so government has an additional obligation to ensure that First Nations are consulted about their Treaty Rights and any potential infringement…” Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett says. “In the case of the Meikle Wind Project, that consultation went well, and in fact, the Treaty 8 First Nations have agreements with the company.”

Minister Bennett adds, “So in both the case of government and the case of the company building the project, the Treaty 8 First Nations are in support of this project.”

The project is anticipated to provide 185 megawatts of capacity through 61 wind turbine generators – enough energy provided to BC Hydro’s grid each year to power the equivalent of approximately 54,000 homes, according to Minister Bennett.

Construction is already underway with the commencement of vegetation clearing, while “major activities” are expected to become evident in June of 2015.

The Meikle Wind project was awarded a 25-year electricity purchase agreement in 2008, and was later awarded with an Environmental Assessment Certificate in 2014.

Minister Bennett is seemingly hoping this wind project will complement the recently approved Site C Dam.

“A lot of people thought that when Site C was announced, there would be no more opportunities for renewable energy,” Minster Bennett goes on to say. “Site C won’t be built for eight years; we’re going to need some new electricity in the meantime, and so the Meikle Wind Energy Project is going to provide some of that electricity – 185 megawatts in fact – and then there will be other renewable projects that will be announced as well over the next few years.”

Project construction – which is anticipated to last 24 months – is estimated to generate an approximate 175 jobs, and once in operation, will support nine full-time jobs, say Bennett.

“At a time when the declining price of coal has hurt the mining industry in the Peace River region, the energy sector is providing employment and economic opportunities,” Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier adds. “The Meikle Wind Energy Project and the Site C Clean Energy Project will bring badly needed jobs for local workers and revenue for local businesses.”

Commercial operation is anticipated for the end of 2016.


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