Wind energy blows through valley

The valley's first wind farm near Osprey Lake will be completed by early 2017

Construction is underway on the region’s first wind farm, located near Osprey Lake on Princeton-Summerland Road.

According to a press release issued by Okanagan Wind, the five-mill wind energy facility should be operational early next year.

The Shinish Creek wind farm is one of two power facilities being built on Crown Land in the Thompson-Okanagan Region.

Together the plants are expected to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions in the province by approximately 60,000 tonnes a year – the equivalent of taking 12,000 cars off the roads.

Their total capacity will be 30 Megawatts, and production will represent 6 per cent of BC’s wind energy power.

“Wind energy is a clean, low-cost source of emission-free electricity. We are excited to bring the Okanagan region its first source of wind energy and to help the region contribute to BC’s goal of generating at least 93 per cent of electricity from clean or renewable sources,” said Stephen Simpson, vice president of InstarAGF Asset Management, the project funder.

The windmills currently under construction will stand 100 meters tall with blades that are 55 meters long.

According to material provided by Okanagan Wind, the construction of the two farms is being carried out by a crew of 60 members, and combined they will contribute approximately $7.5 million to the respective local economies.

“As construction gains momentum we are especially appreciative for local support and partnerships and look forward to being a long-term contributor to the community,” said Simpson.

The projects are being developed by Zero Emission Energy Developments Inc., in collaboration with the Westbank First Nation, Upper Nicola Band and Penticton Indian Band.