The most recent announcement from NaiKun about their proposed Wind Farm development in the coastal waters of Hecate Strait, couldn't have come at a better time.
That after a BC Business article that outlined the number of challenges facing the project and provided some caution over the immediate future for wind power on the North coast.
With a volatile stock price and repeated delays in moving the project forward, BC Business raised the alarm as to what the status of the project may be at the moment and if there is any power to come at the end of the many declarations of progress on the planned wind development.
The BC Business article (view it here) outlines the many challenges that wind power projects have faced in other parts of the world, from supply chain problems, to weather related concerns and nervous investors who in the end walk away from potential projects for any number of reasons.
It traces the development of the NaiKun project from those initial introductions of 2001 to the involvement of the Haida Nation in 2007 and throughout the article author Christopher Pollon examines some of the key issues facing NaiKun as well as some of the advantages that their proposal does have.
It's a fascinating read, and perhaps provides some of the most complete documentation of the path to wind power on the North coast seen yet. Asking as it does some of the key questions of projects of this scale, including the most important one of cost of the power project compared to potential financial return for both the company and the province.
With the announcement of Thursday of the granting of an environmental assessment certificate the province has provided NaiKun with some positive publicity to help spin the prospect of those power turbines just a little bit faster.
It offers up the prospect of potential return for investors, something that should help the struggling share prices of NaiKun in the interim, while they continue with their plans and look for secure financial footing to move things forward. It does however include over 100 conditions which could in the end provide for an increase in the cost of the project, offering up another challenge to business plan.
Still to come for NaiKun is federal approval from the Federal Assessment Office, a decision that is anticipated to be announced in early part of 2010.
And then there is the need for an Energy Purchase Agreement with BC Hydro, which would be the key piece of the entire power puzzle. According to the BC Hydro website, they plan to begin announcing those agreements this month.
As Christopher Pollons' article in B. C. Business outlined, without that Energy Purchase Agreement, there would still be much concern about the fate and feasibility of the project.
The announcement out of Victoria this week combined with the ongoing involvement of the Haida Nation provides a step in the right direction for the company and for those hoping to see wind power developed on the North coast.
What remains to be seen however, is if we indeed are any closer to the start of the project which was first mentioned back in 2001, or if despite the forward momentum offered by the province, the many concerns as outlined in the BC Business article prove at the end of the day to have been too large to overcome.