Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Charlotte’s councillor touts Nai Kun project as having the potential to revitalize island economy

We can apparently count Queen Charlotte City Councillor Eric Ross, as in the Aye column when it comes to the development of wind power off the coast of the Queen Charlottes.

Ross was interviewed in a front page headline story in last Friday’s Daily News expressing much confidence in how the billion dollar energy project may impact on the economy of the Queen Charlottes.

From reducing the dependence on diesel fueled generators to potentially providing for a pulp and paper industry on the islands, Ross found much he liked in the proposal made by Nai’Kun earlier in August.

More North Coast presentations in the works for Nai‘kun
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Friday, August 29, 2008
Page one

A Queen Charlotte City councilor has come out in support of the biggest offshore wind energy project in Canadian history.

Councilllor Eric Ross, who has lived each of his 80 years on the Queen Charlottes, said he was very impressed with the Nai’Kun Wind Energy group’s presentation earlier this month and the possibility of building their project just off the northeast tip of Graham Island.

“At this time of the year we have diesel power running to help us because every time you turn on a stove the water power runs out,” said Ross.

He added that QCC uses way more diesel-generated power in the summer than winter, when they can rely on strong water-generated power.

Diesel power is a costly source of energy that is also a heavy pollutant, according to the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District.

A typical standby diesel generator produces 25 – to – 30 pounds of nitrogen oxides per megawatt hour of power generated, 50 to 60 times the NOx pollution produced per megawatt hour by the typical mix of gas-fired power plants. Nitrogen oxides are a smog forming pollutant.

However, remote towns in British Columbia, like those on the Queen Charlotte Islands, have no choice but to use diesel generators because they are too remote to be linked to the provincial power grid.

“Wind power would do all away with our dependence on diesel energy, said Ross.

He also noted that if the Nai’Kun project went up, there could be Queen Charlotte pulp mills and paper factories built to grow the Islands economic strength.

“All our wood products here, which is one of our major industries here, is sent down to the Lower Mainland and is produced with their power down there.

Instead of us having to ship all of products to Vancouver so that it can be turned in to products and then use their port, we could be shipping it to Prince Rupert,” he said.

Ross worries that opportunity might even have been missed.

“We could have done this 30 years ago and had some mills built with the wood, the way it is now it’s just dumped in the water and barged down to Vancouver.

It might stay that way,” he said

The project is expected to cost more than $1 billion just on installation for 64 to 100 turbines. It would be built 20 square kilometers offshore cover about 65 square kilometers.

Nai’Kun Wind Energy Group’s continuous public speaking arrangements will bring them to Port Edward on October 6 and in Prince Rupert on October 7.

No comments: