What impact wind turbines have on wildlife — bats in particular — are the chief concern regional directors have about a clean energy project proposed for the Pennask Creek area.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District board was asked to endorse the project, which would see Zero Emission Energy Developments Inc. erect seven 95-metre-tall turbines with 50-metre-long rotor blades at two locations.
The first location is 1.6 kilometres off the Okanagan Connector, the other about five kilometres from the highway.
Regional directors decided to support the project, but not before voicing some concerns. Directors John Sternig and Ken Gillis want to know if the Ministry of Environment, the TNRD or the proponent can monitor the effects the turbines have on bats and birds.
“If there are deaths or what have you . . . can we at least know the negative impact, if there is any,” Sternig asked.
Gillis said wind turbines are new to the district — this is the first wind turbine project to apply for development in the TNRD — and would like monitoring to be long term.
“So if this comes before the board again, we can refer to statistics on this project,” he said.
Regina Sadlikova, TNRD director of development services, said the turbines will be monitored for their impact on avian species.
She said other wind-turbine projects in the province report one to four bat kills per site.
Depending on the type of turbine, director Tim Pennell said they can emit a hum that prompts noise complaints from the public. Sadlikova said the ZED locations are about 10 kilometres from the nearest population, so noise shouldn’t be a concern.