Finavera Wind Energy Inc. has received an environmental assessment (EA) Certificate for the proposed Tumbler Ridge Wind Energy Project located within the District of Tumbler Ridge municipal boundary in northeast B.C.
Finavera Wind Energy Inc. is a publicly traded wind energy development company.
Environment Minister Terry Lake and Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman made the decision to grant the EA Certificate after considering the review led by B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO).
The proposed $125-million project will be located eight kilometres southwest of the townsite of Tumbler Ridge. Once completed, the project will produce up to 49.6 megawatts of wind energy, enough to provide energy for up to 18,000 homes.
BC Hydro awarded Finavera Wind Energy Inc. an Electricity Purchasing Agreement (EPA) in March 2010. Under the conditions of the EPA, the project's Commercial Operational Date (electricity delivery date to the BC Hydro grid) is November 2012.
The project will include up to 33 wind turbine generators, approximately 19 kilometres of new access and connector roads, the use of and upgrades to existing roads, underground and above-ground electrical collector cables connecting the wind turbine generators and 100 metres of new transmission line connecting to the BC Hydro electrical transmission system.
The EAO assessment report concluded that the project is not expected to result in any significant adverse effects, based on the mitigation measures and conditions of the EA Certificate.
The provincial EA Certificate contains design features, mitigation measures and 104 conditions that form legally binding requirements that Finavera Wind Energy Inc. must adhere to throughout various stages of the project.
Key requirements include:
- Implementation of a Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan for Birds and Bats (MAMP), approved by EAO, including establishing a Technical Advisory Committee with First Nation representation to oversee the implementation of the MAMP.
- Implementation of Environmental Management Plans and Environmental Protection Plans to be reviewed by First Nations, and approved by EAO, prior to construction. Environmental management plans include conducting specific pre-construction surveys and establishing buffers and mitigation measures should sensitive ecosystems and/or habitats be encountered.
- Implementation of a third-party agreement reached between the proponent and a guide outfitter to mitigate potential effects from the project on the guide outfitter.
- Continuing to work with other tenure holders in the proposed project area to minimize potential resource conflicts.
- Submission of reports to EAO, at specified intervals (annually, prior to construction, operation, decommissioning, and once decommissioning is complete), indicating the status of compliance with the conditions of the EA Certificate.
Consistent with EAO's enhanced compliance and enforcement program, EAO will co-ordinate compliance management efforts to ensure that EAO is independently satisfied that certificate conditions are met.
Based on the information provided to date by Finavera Wind Energy Inc., the project did not require a federal environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
Local and provincial taxes generated over the 25-year lifespan of the project will be approximately $78 million including taxes, rent, royalties, leases, licences and tenure fees. The 10-month project construction period is expected to generate 75 person years of direct employment, the equivalent of 120 full-time and part-time jobs.
The operational phase of the project is expected to create 188 person years of full-time direct employment, which is equivalent to seven to eight permanent full-time jobs. During operations, the project will produce zero net greenhouse gas emissions.
The Saulteau First Nations, West Moberly First Nations, Doig River First Nation, Halfway River First Nation and the McLeod Lake Indian Band participated in the environmental assessment and the proponent was directed to consult with these First Nations. The Province is satisfied that the Crown's duties to consult and accommodate First Nations' interests have been discharged as they relate to the decision to grant the EA Certificate.
Before the project can proceed, Finavera Wind Energy Inc. must still obtain the necessary provincial licences, leases and other approvals.
More information on the EA Certificate can be found at: www.eao.gov.bc.ca.
Ministry of Environment