Northern Lights to build wind turbine with help from feds

Trent Ernst, Editor

The long planned wind turbine that Northern Lights College has had in development for years to train students in its Wind Turbine Maintenance Program is going ahead after the Federal Government promised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to the college last week.

MP Bob Zimmer made the announcement, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. He says “Our government’s top priority is the creation of jobs, growth and long-term prosperity and our investment today will help ensure that Canadian workers can meet the demand for skilled technicians in this sector,” said MP Zimmer.

The total donation was $225,000. The funds will allow NLC to finish constructing a wind turbine on the Dawson Creek campus, where students will learn how to build and maintain turbines for capturing wind-generated energy.

The base has already been built, and Dawson Creek company Hegge Construction will complete the project.

When finished, the tower will stand 26 metres high and will cost $950,000.

To put that in perspective, the average turbine in the Quality Wind Project stands about 95 metres high.

In addition to the Federal Funding (through the Western Economic Diversification fund), Northern Development Initiative Trust donated an additional $100,000. The remainder is being paid for by the college itself.

“British Columbia, and in particular Northeastern British Columbia, has seen exciting growth in the wind energy sector over the past few years,” said Laurie Rancourt, President and CEO of Northern Lights College. “As BC’s Energy College, Northern Lights College is proud to deliver the province’s only BZEE certified Wind Turbine Maintenance program. We are grateful for this generous contribution from Western Economic Diversification which will support the installation of our wind turbine training tower which will become a critical component of this program.”

BZEE is an internationally recognized wind power certification started in Germany.

The tower is scheduled for completion this September.