Pattern Energy Group announced the opening of its 179-MW Meikle Wind power project in British Columbia, about 33 km north of Tumbler Ridge. The wind facility consists of 61 GE wind turbines, including 35 3.2-MW turbines and 26 2.75-MW turbines.
“This project has been critical to the community for the past three years when other industries were leaving Tumbler Ridge,” said Don McPherson, Mayor of Tumbler Ridge, who attended the recent dedication ceremony.
Brad Booker, speaking on behalf of the school district, praised Pattern Energy for living up its motto, “Energy for Generations,” by investing in the future generations through long-term commitments of support to the school, which are part of Meikle Wind’s community benefits program.
“Located in this beautiful mountainous region of BC, Meikle Wind was a unique project to build for its design and weather challenges, as well as for our discovery of rare dinosaur tracks during construction, which was donated to the Tumbler Ridge Museum,” said Hunter Armistead, Executive Vice President of Pattern Energy. “This project was a successful collaboration with the participating First Nations, the communities of Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd, and BC Hydro.”
Councilor Dean Dokkie of the West Moberly First Nations spoke about the positive working relationship with Pattern and praised the company’s willingness to work in earnest to find mutually beneficial siting compromises that honored First Nations’ needs and perspectives.
Meikle Wind used more than 500,000 person-hours of labor during construction, with in excess of 30% of the value of contracts awarded to First Nation-affiliated contractors and other regional firms. The facility is managed by 16 operations and maintenance personnel, and will also utilize a variety of local subcontractors.
Meikle Wind is generating strong benefits for the province with an estimated $70 million in payments for property taxes, Crown lease payments, wind participation rent, and community benefits over the first 25 years of operations.
The project’s innovative layout, developed in collaboration with GE, incorporates two different turbine models consisting of varying rotor sizes and hub heights. This design was developed to capture the most energy from the ridgelines, accounting for varying wind speeds, wind shear, turbulence and inflow angles.
Meikle Wind is located within an area that was significantly impacted by pine beetle kill and previous forestry activity, reducing the overall environmental impact of the project.
Meikle Wind commenced commercial operations in the first quarter of 2017 and operates under a 25-year power purchase agreement with BC Hydro, which has a AAA/Aaa credit rating.