NaiKun wants Siemens 4MW offshore turbine for BC project

NaiKun Wind Energy Group has signed an agreement with Siemens Canada that gives it preference to supply 100 wind turbines for a 400MW project in the Hecate Strait between British Columbia and the Haida Gwaii archipelago.

If the project advances, it could become lead customer in North America for the new Siemens SWT-4.0-130 4MW offshore turbine.

In a statement, NaiKun Wind Energy says Siemens will be assisting it to advance development of the first phase of the project, without providing detail. It also says the agreement specifies that the two sides will “exclusively explore the opportunities for a joint execution of the company's project.”

The statement adds that Siemens will also “cooperate with the foundation designer in the design and certification of the turbine tower, transition piece and foundation.”

NaiKun Wind Energy chief executive Mike O’Connor did not immediately return a phone call from Recharge.

The developer estimates that if the project does proceed, it will result in 500 jobs and more than C$400m ($400m) in direct expenditures in the province during construction, and 50 permanent positions for maintenance and operations.

The project stalled in 2010 when provincial utility BC Hydro rejected the developer’s proposal for a long-term power purchase agreement as too expensive relative to other forms of renewable energy. If a purchase deal is awarded, project construction can begin within two years, according to NaiKun Wind Energy.

Later, members of the native Haida Nation, which has an option to buy a 40% stake in the project, voted overwhelmingly against entering into a proposed business partnership with the developer.

At the time, Haida Nation President Guujaaw Edenshaw said prevailing sentiment among his members was that the project was an unacceptable financial risk for them, and could pose problems for birds and ecosystem in the shallow Hecate Strait.

A study commissioned by the Haida Nation’s governing council found that the project cost could be about C$150 per MWh.

NaiKun Wind Energy says the project is at an advanced stage of development with environmental approvals from the provincial and federal governments.