Vancouver, BC – December 10, 2009 – NaiKun Wind Energy Group Inc. (TSX Venture: NKW) today announced that it has been granted a provincial Environmental Assessment Certificate from the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) for its 396MW offshore wind energy project in northwest British Columbia, paving the way for the construction of Canada’s first offshore wind energy project.
"This is an important day for NaiKun Wind and for British Columbia’s North Coast communities,” said Paul Taylor, NaiKun Wind’s President and CEO. “The NaiKun Wind project will play an important role in helping the province reach its goal of becoming electricity self-sufficient by 2016 while also providing major economic benefits to B.C.’s North Coast communities.”
NaiKun Wind is one of only a handful of projects in BC Hydro’s Clean Power Call to have been granted a provincial Environmental Assessment Certificate. “With environmental certification from the provincial government, adding to the many other milestones we have reached, we are confident that our project is well positioned to be successful in the Clean Power Call,” said Mr. Taylor.
The NaiKun Wind project underwent a harmonized provincial/federal review led by the EAO which concluded the project will have no significant environmental, social or health effects on the surrounding area. The federal government’s decision on the environmental assessment application is expected in early 2010. The Haida Nation has also undertaken an environmental assessment of the project.
“NaiKun Wind’s environmental assessment review was a rigorous and transparent process led by the EAO that benefited from important input from provincial and federal agencies, First Nations, stakeholders and the public,” said Matt Burns, NaiKun Wind’s Vice-President responsible for the environmental file. “We would like to extend our appreciation to all those who contributed to the process in particular the Environmental Assessment Office for completing the review within the 180-day time-frame.”
Environmental certification marks the culmination of over six years of extensive environmental studies, analysis and community consultation. As part of the process, NaiKun Wind has made numerous commitments that are carefully designed to maximize project benefits and minimize the risk of negative effects on the environment.
The clean energy produced by the NaiKun Wind project will displace approximately 450,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, with the HaidaLink proposal replacing the 26,000 tonnes of diesel fuel currently burned each year to provide power on Haida Gwaii. The project is expected to result in over $400 million in direct expenditures in the province during construction, of which $250 million will benefit North Coast communities.
NaiKun Wind Energy Group Inc. is a British Columbia-based renewable energy company with offices in Vancouver, Masset and Skidegate. The 396 MW offshore wind energy project will generate enough energy to provide electricity to 130,000 B.C. homes and play a significant role in combating climate change. The project will also create an estimated 200 jobs during construction and 50 permanent jobs for maintenance and operations. NaiKun Wind is committed to working in partnership with First Nations and collaboratively with stakeholder groups and local communities in the development of its project. For more information on NaiKun Wind, please visit www.naikun.ca.
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The project will provide significant economic development opportunities for the northwest region of BC including:
– $2 billion capital cost
– Approximately $400 million of project expenditures in B.C. during construction, of which approximately $250 million would be spent in the North Coast region
– Approximately $40 million per year contributed to provincial GDP over the life of the project
Approximately 200 construction jobs and up to 50 long-term operations and maintenance jobs, the majority of which will remain in the local communities.
Jobs and skills training to ensure a qualified pool of local workers and hiring as many qualified local individuals as possible to work on the Project.
Opportunity to work with local emergency response providers to increase safety and emergency response capabilities in north coast communities given the helicopters and marine vessels that will be required to construct and operate the project.
Significant contribution to meeting B.C.’s growing energy needs and initiate development of a new, clean, renewable and scalable power resource for British Columbia as a complement to BC’s legacy storage hydro resources, particularly during peak electricity demand seasons.
Integration of proven technologies within the BC electricity system that can provide:
– The core of expertise, technology transfer and potential supplier capability that could create a BC-based centre of excellence for offshore wind projects in North America;
– Links to off-grid regions, allowing for displacement of fossil fuel generation and enhanced community development opportunities; and
– Potential transmission system stability benefits at the edge of the grid.
Partnerships with First Nations on key aspects of the project, and local First Nations are actively engaged in ownership, operations, employment and training, including the Haida Nation, Lax Kw’alaams First Nation and Metlakatla First Nation.
NaiKun Wind has offered the Council of the Haida Nation the opportunity to purchase an equity position in the generation company that will own the turbines. If exercised, the cash returns of which would be earned by the Haida and stay on the North Coast.
The provincial environmental assessment certificate for the project contains more than 100 commitments that NaiKun Wind will implement throughout various stages of the project. Key commitments include the following:
– Mitigation, compensation and monitoring plans and adaptive management programs, to ensure no significant impacts on the environment, including marine birds, marine mammals, archaeological and heritage resources and commercial fisheries.
– Scheduling construction in consideration of sensitive periods.
Facilitating participation by First Nations, including the Haida Nation, Lax Kw’alaams First Nation, Metlakatla First Nation and Gitxaala Nation, in post-certification environmental study and/or monitoring programs associated with the Project.
Engaging stakeholders to address aids for marine access in the wind farm and along the cable routes and seeking input from area users into the Access Management Plan, particular with regard to commercial fisheries’ access.
Awareness education for the boating public, about the wind farm, the wind turbine generators and underwater cable.
Local hiring and procurement policies to maximize economic and employment opportunities locally and in the region.
Community information centres in local communities.
Ongoing communication with local governments, stakeholders and the public during all stages of the Project, including regular public information updates on the status of construction.
NaiKun Wind by the Numbers – Fast Facts
$2 billion direct capital costs
$400 million of project expenditures in the province during construction (3 years), including $250 million in the BC North Coast region
$40 million contributed annually to provincial GDP over the life of the project
200 construction jobs
50 operating jobs (permanent)
101 environmental commitments
130,000 homes served with clean, renewable energy
476,000 tonnes of greenhouse gasses displaced
110 Siemens 3.6 megawatt wind turbine generators
95 kilometre submarine cable to the mainland
More information on the environmental assessment certificate can be found at www.eao.gov.bc.ca or www.naikun.ca