Meikle Wind on track to be completed by end of year

Trent Ernst, Editor

Progress is being made on the Meikle Wind project.

That was brought to the attention of everyone in town on June 5, when the power went out for a few hours as BC Hydro did work on the 230 kV power line to Tumbler Ridge so they are ready when the project comes on-line in fall.

Recently, we talked with Michael Thompson, Project Manager for Pattern Energy. He says over the next few months, work is going to ramp up on installing the turbines, as well as completion of the electrical facilities and on-site operations building.

Starting this month, he says, the towers are going to be installed, with the blades being attached shortly after. While not much is visible from outside the project yet, he says people will start to see things shortly.

“The turbine supply logistics to this project are fascinating,” he says. “Components have been sourced from four different continents and all need to be brought to the site eventually by either road or railroad. Many components, due to their size and source location, entered BC at the Port of Stewart and have been transported by road on Highway 16 via Prince George. It is quite something to see a 190 foot long blade traveling across the mountains!”

Thompson says low winter snows and warm weather meant they were able to get on site in early April. “Fire risk has been more of an issue. Within weeks the site was on high fire risk warning and construction works had to be adjusted to early start/finish. By mid-May it looked like site activities might be further impacted, but thankfully a couple of wetter weeks and a snowfall (on the May holiday weekend, of course) has brought the risk down significantly.”

The recent rains has also delayed the project. Thompson says the project site has held up well during the rain, and work continues on site. However, with the Pine Pass being washed out, it has caused some delay in delivery, though they have enough pieces on hand to keep them going for the next little while.

A second scheduled power outage is expected sometime in August, though a date has yet to be fixed.