Regional directors sound off on the first wind-turbine projects to apply for development in Thompson-Nicola Regional District during a board meeting later Thursday.
Regina Sadikova, the TNRD's director of development services, said Zero Emission Energy Developments Inc. (ZED) has had investigative licence on the site along Highway 97C near Pennask Mountain for several years.
The company wants to erect seven 95-metre-tall turbines with 50-metre-long rotor blades at two locations: one 1.6 kilometres off the Okanagan Connector, the other about five km from the highway, she said Wednesday.
The sites generate 15 megawatts of power per project that would be sold into the grid, Sadikova said.
ZED has already held a number of public meetings about the projects. All the board needs to do is state whether it is in favour.
"They can't shut it down. All they can do is state their opposition and they have to say why," Sadikova said. "We'll see what they will do."
Given the regional district's policies supporting clean energy, the TNRD is in favour of the project, she said. Although visible from the highway and near Pennask Creek Provincial Park, the area itself is sparsely populated.
Wind turbines can be dangerous to birds, but the industry is taking steps to mitigate that, said retired biologist Rick Howie. Depending on species, terrain and migratory patterns, birds have flown into the blades.
"There has been conflict there. It's quite a complex situation when it comes to wind turbines," he said.
Efforts are made to minimize the impact, said Howie. Some sites use radar to identify flocks of birds and shut the blades down if they fly too close.