Northern Lights College

CTS 1.5 MW wind energy plant

The landmark project being developed by Northern Lights College and CTS is a 1.5 MW, fully operational industrial wind energy plant. This facility will provide approximately 4,000,000 kWh of electricity per year to the BC Hydro distribution system, enough to power about 400 homes.

More importantly, the project will be the first full-sized wind turbine in the world mounted on a support structure made predominantly with engineered wood. It will demonstrate and measure the effectiveness of this environment-friendly, sustainable option for wind turbine tower structures.

Pieces in place

Establishing a wind energy plant involves many integrated activities. Many parts of the project are already underway, including:

Site selection: Based on a preliminary wind analysis an elevated section in the northwest corner of NLC’s Mile Zero Farm property was chosen as the demonstration site. This location has sufficient wind and is easily accessible.

Agricultural Land Registry approval: An application to the ALR was approved to allow the wind energy plant to be situated on NLC’s farm property. The small footprint of the installation will have minimal impact on the continued use of the site for agriculture.

Wind Profile Assessment: To further confirm the wind resource and determine the optimal hub height for the turbine, a detailed laser anemometer analysis was also conducted.

Power output calculations: Based on the wind resource profile, power output estimates for a selection of possible turbines were completed along with preliminary cash flow and return on investment calculations.

Geotechnical site assessment: In preparation for the design of the foundation for the structure a detailed site analysis was completed in April 2011.

Power purchase and connection agreements: Also in preparation for future operations, preliminary discussions with BC Hydro regarding power purchase and standard generator interconnection agreements have been initiated.
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Wind speed and direction. A narrow band of directionality improves production and reduces equipment wear.
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NLC/CTS Demonstration Tower site on wind profile map. (Purple coloring represents 6 metre per second average wind speed.)