Wind Energy

British Columbia’s emerging wind resources have attracted significant attention and investment from across North America, and many projects are in the planning phase or under construction. British Columbia’s policies for wind power projects enable the orderly and secure development of the industry. The policies include a 10-year exemption from participation rents for new wind projects, and establish maximum permissible noise levels for wind farms near residential properties. The Province of B.C. has indicated that wind energy will help B.C. meet the objectives set out under the B.C. Energy Plan, and the B.C. Climate Action Plan.

According to the Western Renewable Energy Zones Phase 1 Report, B.C. has the potential to generate 13,943 MW of energy from wind. Wind energy is well positioned to limit huge increases in greenhouse gas emissions that would result from powering new industrial developments with fossil fuels.

Wind energy uses winds blowing across the earth’s surface to generate electrical energy using wind turbines – windmills attached to electrical generators. Wind energy is a clean, renewable source of energy – a source government is utilizing to achieve the clean energy goals set forth by the BC Energy Plan.

Wind energy can be produced by a single turbine or, on a larger and more consistent scale, by many turbines operating in a wind farm. The modern wind turbine was built to adapt to various wind and weather conditions and can also be installed on both land and offshore.

Large-scale wind generation provides power to the local utility grid, like other traditional forms of generation such as hydroelectric or natural gas. Small-scale wind turbines can provide on-site power to a home or business. Additional electricity generated beyond the user’s needs by the small-scale turbines can be fed back into the local electrical grid under utility net metering programs.

With a growing demand for clean, renewable energy there is excellent wind resource potential in several regions of the province.

The development of alternative energy projects are within the jurisdiction of the Province of B.C. and are subject to the assessment process of the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO). The BCEAO then refers projects to local governments for feedback and comment. The Clean Energy Projects (CEP) process governs projects that are generally 1 to 50 MW. Projects larger than 50 MW are subject to a federal environmental assessment process. Alternative energy projects smaller than 1 MW (those typically found in a home installation project) are reviewed by local authorities.

In early 2015, construction began on the $400 million wind farm being constructed in Tumbler Ridge, B.C. which, once operational, will be the province’s largest scale wind farm. Also in 2015, Zero Emission Developments Inc., an independent wind power producer, signed an agreement with BC Hydro under its Standing Offer Program to construct a wind farm near Pennask Summit, approximately 70 kilometres east of Merritt, B.C.

The wind independent power producers industry is growing in B.C. and more wind projects are expected to be included into future power calls. BC Hydro issued a call for power from clean energy producers in 2010. The 20 projects that were awarded Electricity Purchase Agreements through BC Hydro included run-of-river, wind and waste heat.

BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

The British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources is the legislative body responsible for Electricity and Alternative Energy Division within the province and implementing the BC Energy Plan: a Vision for Clean Energy Leadership. The BC Energy Plan was designed to help British Columbia reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen its long-term competitiveness and electricity self-sufficiency. The plan intends to put British Columbia at the forefront of environmental and economic leadership through the production of clean and renewable energy to meet the needs of the provincial economy.

The Electricity and Alternative Energy Division facilitates thriving, competitive, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible electricity, alternative energy and energy efficiency sectors for the benefit of British Columbians. The Division is responsible for:

  • Legislation, policies and programs to support all forms of electrical power generation and transmission;
  • Province-wide energy conservation and efficiency measures;
  • Alternative energy development;
  • Renewable and Low Carbon Transportation Fuels;
  • Policy advice and direction to electrical utilities and their regulator, the British Columbia Utilities Commission;
  • Fostering private sector investment in new electricity resources; and
  • Operational policy support for independent power producers.

Innovative Clean Energy Fund

British Columbia's increasing energy requirements and its ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction and clean energy targets require greater investment and innovation in the area of alternative energy by both the public and private sector.

To lead this effort, the government has established an Innovative Clean Energy Fund of $25 million to help promising clean power technology projects succeed. The fund has been established through a small charge on energy utilities.

Proponents of projects that will be supported through the fund are encouraged to seek additional contributions from other sources. Government's new Innovative Clean Energy Fund will help make B.C. a world leader in alternative energy and power technology. It will solve some of B.C.'s pressing energy challenges, protect our environment, help grow the economy, position the province as the place international customers turn to for key energy and environmental solutions, and assist B.C. based companies to showcase their products to global markets.


Canadian Wind Energy Association

The Canadian Wind Energy Association is a non-profit trade association that promotes the appropriate development and application of all aspects of wind energy in Canada, including the creation of a suitable policy environment. Established in 1984, the Canadian Wind Energy Association represents the wind energy community — organizations and individuals who are directly involved in the development and application of wind energy technology, products and services. Their members are wind energy owners, operators, manufacturers, project developers, consultants and service providers, as well as other organizations and individuals interested in supporting Canada’s wind energy industry.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association believes wind energy can satisfy 20% of Canada’s electricity demand by 2025 and generate $79 billion in investment that will increase Canada’s presence in the $1.8 trillion global wind industry.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association’s website provides further information about the association, the potential for wind energy in Canada, resources, links and case studies, and access to membership.

The BC Sustainable Energy Association

The BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) officially launched in the summer of 2004. It concerns itself with the sustainable use and production of energy in B.C.

The BCSEA is an effective and respected advocate on B.C.’s energy sector. Its regional chapters and hundreds of provincial members advance informed and progressive perspectives in their own communities as they champion best policies in Victoria, B.C. and Ottawa, ON.

The BCSEA frequently share their educational and research work with governments at all levels, calling for policies–-like energy efficiency incentive programs, the carbon tax, and greenhouse gas-free electricity generation-–that are helping them realize their potential. The BCSEA participates in regulatory reviews of BC Hydro’s energy plans, bringing expert evidence to prove the advantages of conservation and other sustainable solutions.

The activities of the BCSEA are made possible by the volunteer effort of its individual members. Members are empowered to develop new initiatives and shape the direction of the organization. Organization members have the opportunity to raise their profile in the province and further the business goals of their organization.

The BCSEA website provides useful information on renewable energy technologies, a sustainable energy directory, and access to membership.


Northern Lights College

Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician Program

Northern Lights College offers a wind turbine maintenance technician certificate program designed to meet the growing demand for trained wind energy technicians to service the expanding wind energy sector, locally and globally.

Students are provided with the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills required for the support and maintenance of wind turbine output availability.

Solar and Sustainable Energy Society of Canada Inc.

The Solar and Sustainable Energy Society of Canada Inc. (SESCI) is a national charitable organization that promotes solar and sustainable energy in Canada.  SESCI is an organization of professionals, researchers and individuals with a common vision for a sustainable energy future in Canada.

SESCI is a platform for technology awareness, policy promotion and solar know-how – for members and for the Canadian public.  SESCI’s role is to:

  • Advance the adoption of solar and sustainable energy in Canada;
  • Be a reliable and objective source of technical and policy information;
  • Be a focal point for sustainable and solar energy discussion and implementation; and
  • Collaborate internationally as the Canadian chapter of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES)


University of Northern British Columbia

Centre for Wind Energy and the Environment

UNBC’s Centre for Wind Energy and the Environment is conducting a wind energy research project in northeast B.C. The research team is using radar and other on the ground tracking systems to better understand how migrating birds use the landscape around proposed wind farms. The research team is pairing this data with wind patterns to assess the influence of changes in flight behavior associated with changes in weather conditions and how this influences conflicts between birds and turbines.



Aeolis Wind Power Corporation

Aeolis Wind is a Canadian wind energy development company focused on establishing large-scale wind power generation facilities in Western Canada. Aeolis has an extensive network of data collection and monitoring towers on its northeastern wind farm operations. Its Victoria head office analyzes data from its sites with state-of-the-art software. Aeolis demonstrated its in-house technical and project expertise in leading development of B.C.’s first wind project: the Bear Mountain Wind Park near Dawson Creek.

Aeolis’ mission is to be a North American leader in the development of sustainable wind energy projects which are economically viable while benefiting the environment and local economies.


Axys Technologies Inc.

Axys Technologies Inc. (Axys) is a Canadian company with over 40 years’ experience in the design, manufacture and deployment of remote environmental monitoring systems worldwide. Axys applies its knowledge and experience to marine, freshwater, offshore wind resource assessment, and land-based monitoring systems that measure aquatic, oceanic and atmospheric parameters.

Axys has built and commission more than 500 meteorological and oceanographic systems of various types around the globe, and its clients include wind and wave energy companies.


Bear Mountain Wind Park

AltaGas’ Bear Mountain Wind Park, a 34-turbine, 102-megawatt (MW) wind power project located near the City of Dawson Creek is B.C.’s first wind park. In 2004, Peace Energy Cooperative acquired the exclusive right to investigate and develop Bear Mountain for a commercial-scale wind park. With high winds and a close proximity to existing infrastrcutre, Bear Mountain is an ideal location for a wind energy project.

In 2006, BC Hydro awarded a contract to Bear Mountain Wind Park. AltaGas broke ground in 2007 and the $200 million project went live in October 2009.


Zero Emission Energy Developments Inc.

Zero Emission Energy Developments Inc. (ZEED) is a B.C.-based renewable energy company, established in 2007 to develop small-scale community based wind power generation plants throughout B.C.

ZEED’s vision is to be an exemplary producer of power generated from renewable resources with zero emissions, enhancing the quality of life for residents of B.C. In doing so, ZEED plans to partner with investors, communities and independent land owners for development.

ZEED acts as a facilitator and a project manager, bringing together investors, landowners and the appropriate technology to develop and maintain renewable and alternative energy projects.

Most recently, ZEED intends to develop the Pennask Wind Generation Power Project near Merritt, B.C., which will see the construction and operation of a 15 MW wind power generation facility in order to supply clean, renewable, greenhouse gas-free power to BC Hydro.

More Wind Energy Resources