Squamish Wind Energy Project
Wind power is the fastest growing energy sector worldwide, and British Columbia, with its vast and windy coastline and windy
plateaus and mountains, has been identi ed as having the best potential for wind and alternative energy projects for a number
of years. Squamish locals are familiar with its strong winds both on the ocean and on mountain tops, and Squamish is a hotspot
for sailboat enthusiasts.
The District of Squamish has been considering the potential for wind and alternative energy projects for a number of years. In
January 2004, the District, with generous funding from Western Economic Diversi cation (WED) and the support of Community
Futures, decided to identify other ways to bene t from this vast renewable resource, and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for
an alternative energy project. The goal of the RFP was to solicit a research project with broad public consultation, and to gauge
public sentiment around such a project.
The District of Squamish selected Sea Breeze Power Corp.’s proposal to help them meet their goal. Sea Breeze has been working
closely with the District since early 2004 to conduct public consultation and research into wind power opportunities in the area.
I. Public consultation and project strategy
- Initiated in March 2004 to solicit feedback and views
on what residents felt appropriate for the community
II. Site selection, permitting, wind data measurement, data
analysis, business planning and additional consultation
- Project is currently in this Phase
III. Project Development, if Phase II ndings are positive
Phase I – Public Consultation and Project Strategy
This phase, funded through WED, helped the District gain an
understanding about things that are important to Squamish
residents, including: sustainability, leadership in green
Photo Courtesy of District of Squamish
technology, and reducing environmental footprint.
Phase II - Site Selection
In March 2004, an open house was held to provide information Thanks to assistance from Community Futures, Squamish was
about wind power opportunities in the community, and to able to secure funding from Western Economic Diversi cation
gauge the level of community support for wind power. The and Suncor Energy to further explore the wind potential in
open house was followed by a technical workshop which the area.
addressed three topics, each of which explored a di erent
component of wind power development in the District: Squamish is windy but also has a uniquely complex
environment and topography. The challenge in nding the
• Economic opportunities related to wind power right site for a windfarm lies in carefully considering the
• The future of sustainable energy in Squamish surrounding environment; as sensitive wildlife habitat should
• Locations of wind towers be avoided.
Questionnaire results from the meetings indicated that 84% Based on preliminary ndings by Sea Breeze’s meteorologists,
are in favour of wind power development in or around eight sites were selected as potential candidates around the
Squamish. Ongoing feedback has helped inform site selection. Squamish Valley. Sea Breeze conducted a preliminary survey
With favorable initial results, funding was sought for further of each of these sites by helicopter, and used existing data to
analysis and planning in Phase II. do an overview assessment of the wind potential of each site.
Level of Community Support
In favour of wind power
Against wind power
14% Undecided Require additional information
before taking a position
84% In Favour
The eight sites were evaluated based on: We are interested in gathering feedback from residents, and
• Potential generation capacity (from 2 to 50+ Megawatts) will be holding public events to provide information and to
Possible environmental issues discuss the possibility of a demonstration project.
• Visibility (residents preferred sites with moderate
visibility from downtown Squamish)
• Topography Project Partners
• Minimizing threats to birds
• Road access to transport equipment to site
• Access to transmission lines
• Pumped storage or run-of-river hydro availability to
complement power generated by wind
• Potential con ict with existing radio towers, air tra c, or
other land uses
Preferred Site: Alice Ridge
The Alice Ridge site ranked highest based on the above criteria
as well as the survey results from community consultation. It
appears that there could be adequate wind resource for
approximately 5 turbines at Alice Ridge, and the site has
medium visibility from downtown Squamish, inline with
what the District and Sea Breeze heard from the community.
Meteorological towers vary from 10-60m in height and measure
wind speed and direction using anemometers. Sea Breeze
installed a 50m met tower in the Alice Ridge area in August
2006, which will collect wind data for a period of one year.
Local Demonstration Project
Preliminary research is being compiled to explore the possibility
of installing a smaller demonstration project in a more visible
location in the community, or along the Sea-to-Sky corridor.
A proposal will be prepared to secure funding to advance this
part of the project.
A wind turbine in a visible location would:
• Demonstrate Squamish’s commitment to renewable
energy and sustainability
• Showcase wind power and the potential in BC For more information please contact:
• Provide an opportunity for Squamish to be a leader in Dan McRae
community wind projects in BC Squamish Sustainability Corporation
• Draw attention to Squamish as a business hub for green Suite 101-38551 Loggers Lane
technologies Squamish, B.C. V0N 3G0
• Draw tourist attention to Squamish during the 2010 Phone: 604-815-5082