TimberWest and EDP Renewables Canada Partner on Large-Scale Wind Power Projects on Vancouver Island

TimberWest Forest Corp. (“TimberWest”) and EDP Renewables Canada Ltd. (“EDPR Canada”) have entered into a partnership to develop, build, and operate large-scale wind projects on southern Vancouver Island.  TimberWest and EDPR Canada also announce that they have signed an MOU with the T’Sou-ke First Nation (“T’Sou-ke”) that envisions the potential of partnerships with the T’Sou-ke and other First Nations on wind projects.

The projects present a unique opportunity to build power generation capacity on Vancouver Island, which generates only a third of its energy demand locally.  At up to 300 megawatts of capacity, the projects will provide approximately $600 to $750 million of potential investment and support hundreds of jobs on Vancouver Island, including training for new skills and services.

“These clean energy projects represent a significant investment on Vancouver Island,” said TimberWest President and CEO, Brian Frank. “We have a tremendous opportunity here to develop wind energy on TimberWest’s private land near where that energy is needed.”

TimberWest has a long history of sustainable land management and commitment to Vancouver Island communities. “Wind projects on these lands complement the existing managed forest landscape that has a century of renewable forest harvesting activity,” concluded Frank.

Partnering with TimberWest is EDPR Canada-part of a leading global renewable energy company that owns and operates over 8,000 megawatts of projects around the world.  “We are excited by the potential of this project in British Columbia,” said Gabriel Alonso, CEO of EDP Renewables North America LLC. He added that, “with the increasing efficiency of modern wind turbines, this project will be competitive at source with other large-scale power development proposals in the province, including Site C.”

Gordon Planes, Chief of the T’Sou-ke First Nation whose traditional territory lies within the wind projects, said “We look forward to working with TimberWest, EDPR Canada, and other First Nations to see the wind projects are developed in a way that is respectful of First Nations people; their culture, aspirations and interests.”

With the contraction of the traditional Coastal forest industry in British Columbia over the last several decades, developments such as these represent an opportunity to  diversify Vancouver Island with new investment, jobs and training,

The projects are close to electrical load centres on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, are in close proximity to BC Hydro’s 138 and 230 kV transmission lines with available connection capacity, and compliment the timing of electricity demand during the fall and winter months.

In addition, the projects represent a large investment in Vancouver Island and benefit from experienced partners with the financial strength to assure project success.  An initial 300 MW’s would mean approximately a $600 to $750 million investment and would support 350+ direct construction jobs, 1,000 indirect/induced jobs during construction and 40-50 permanent operations jobs.  Vancouver Island currently relies on imports from the mainland for nearly two-thirds of its electricity needs.

The world class, large-scale wind developments will compete with other future supply options, including Site-C, on both price and value. This power comes with no fuel risk or GHG emissions.

The projects have the added benefit of generating clean renewable energy that could potentially support BC Government’s objective to create the cleanest LNG projects on the globe by reducing carbon emissions.  To be successful, these projects will rely on BC Hydro to purchase the power, or deliver it directly to growing end use markets in the natural resources sector such as mining and liquefied natural gas projects.

TimberWest and EDPR Canada are dedicated to making their partnership a model for wind projects in British Columbia.  The partnership has begun engaging First Nations, local communities and stakeholders early, and will meet all municipal, provincial and federal requirements.

Within the past five years, T’Sou-ke has become a leader in community-based renewable energy.   With their and other First Nations involvement in the projects, the partnership can leverage traditional knowledge of lands and geography, and experience with renewable energy development to make these projects successful and create new economic opportunities for First Nations on the Island.