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Lots of interest in wind power west of Summerland

Wind turbines could one day dot the landscape west of Summerland. - Wikimedia Commons
Wind turbines could one day dot the landscape west of Summerland.
— image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Mountainous terrain west of Summerland continues to generate interest from companies exploring the area’s potential for wind energy.

The board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen learned last week that an independent power producer is seeking to erect up to five test towers about 25 kilometres west of the town near Brent Mountain.

SB Hedley Holdings Corp. first needs an investigative licence from the B.C. government in order to go on the land to erect up to five test towers 60 to 80 metre in height in an area that is accessible by logging roads.

James Griffiths, a spokesman for parent company Sea Breeze Power Corp., said the firm will likely start with one tower and go from there.

Existing data for the site, he added, shows it’s “middle of the road” in terms of its potential for wind energy, and given its distance from highways and transmission lines the company would need excellent test results to warrant further exploration.

“You’d need fairly good winds to make that site a go,” Griffiths said.

At least two other firms have filed for similar permission on, or near, Brent Mountain, but the RDOS director for the area doesn’t expect a windfall from wind farms.

“I do not foresee much in terms of economic development for Area F from these projects: the hardware is (I believe) mostly European and construction activity on-site is likely to be of a short duration,” Michael Brydon said via email.

“These projects are really about a global problem and doing our small bit to facilitate a solution.”

He pointed out that two of the four projects planned for west of Summerland have a combined capacity of 30 megawatts, much less than what would be produced by larger facilities like the proposed Site C dam in northeast B.C.

“So in terms of energy generation, these projects are a drop in the bucket. We have no illusions about saving the world here,” Brydon said.

“However, my own view is that we have to start somewhere.  Putting aside the subsidies provided by BC Hydro to third-party power producers, these are private companies doing their own due diligence and risking their own capital to create green energy.”

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