Innergex is developing a wind farm in the Vanderhoof area.

Wind Power: Innergex chooses Vanderhoof as site of clean energy creation

The hills around Vanderhooof may soon be home to the only wind farm in the Northwest as Innergex works on the Nulki Hills Wind Project.

The hills around Vanderhooof may soon be home to the only wind farm in the Northwest as Innergex continues work on the Nulki Hills Wind Project.

Located approximately 30 kilometres south of Vanderhoof, Innergex expects to build a maximum of 70 wind turbines that stand approximately 120 metres high, including the rotor. Each turbine produces enough to supply 1,000 homes for a year, so they expect to produce enough power to supply 70,000 homes, or 550 to 650 Gigawatt hours per year.

“If everything goes well, our project could start construction in 2016 and a project of this size takes about two years to build,” explained Innergex director of public affairs Bas Brusche, noting the company is on the lookout for the hundreds of workers that will be needed.

“We need between 200 and 300 people to help us out with the construction of the project … we are actively using all kinds of businesses in Vanderhoof and that will only increase.”

Innergex hopes to begin operations in 2018, at which point only a handful of people will be needed to run and maintain the turbines. However, more jobs will be created to maintain and clear the 60 kilometres of new road that will extend from the Kluskus Forest Service Road and Corkscrew 300 road to the project site.

While much of the talk in the region is related to liquefied natural gas and oil exports, Brusche said wind energy should be appealing for British Columbians in the years ahead.

“The interesting thing about wind is that the turbines keep getting cheaper and more efficient, which means you can get more power over the years for less money out of the same types of turbine,” he said.

“So if you keep it updated it can be in activity for many decades.”

The Nulki Hills Wind Project is currently undergoing a B.C. Environmental Assessment. The partners will work together to obtain an Environmental Assessment Certificate from the province and an electricity purchase agreement from BC Hydro for this project, which could deliver power to the grid by late 2018.

Should it proceed, the Nulki Hills Project would be only the fourth wind farm project in the province and the first east of Prince George. The others include the Quality Wind project near Tumbler Ridge, the Dokie Ridge Wind Farm near Chetwynd and the Bear Mountain Wind Park near Dawson Creek.