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NEWS RELEASE · 11th December 2009
BC Government
NaiKun Wind Development Inc. (the proponent) has received an environmental assessment (EA) certificate for its proposed offshore wind energy project (project). The Council of the Haida Nation has a limited partnership agreement with the proponent to operate and maintain the project after construction.

Environment Minister Barry Penner and Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom made the decision to grant the EA certificate after considering the environmental assessment led by B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO).

Located east of Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands in Hecate Strait, the project is anticipated to have up to 110 wind turbines positioned on 80-metre towers mounted on foundations anchored to the seabed. With an installed capacity of 396 megawatts, it could produce enough electricity annually for approximately 130,000 homes. The project also includes an underwater cable and overland transmission line connecting to BC Hydro's grid on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert and HaidaLink, a marine cable and infrastructure supplying electricity to Graham Island near Tlell.

The project is consistent with the BC Energy Plan and government's commitment to reduce BC Hydro's reliance on imported electricity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The EAO assessment report concluded the project is not likely to have significant adverse effects, based on the mitigation measures and commitments included as conditions of the EA certificate.

The provincial EA certificate contains 100 conditions the proponent must implement throughout various stages of the project. Key commitments include the following:

* Undertake a joint research project with the local crab fishery to document Dungeness crab movement at Dogfish Bank.
* Undertake additional modeling prior to construction and monitoring to verify predictions on movement of sediment relative to beaches and navigation in the area.
* Implement an adaptive management plan for marine birds.
* Implement a monitoring plan to identify any unforeseen impacts to values and recreational use of Naikoon Provincial Park.

The project also triggered an environmental assessment as a screening under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The EAO and federal agencies have harmonized the process in accordance with the Canada-British Columbia Agreement for Environmental Assessment Cooperation.

Before the project can proceed, the proponent will need to obtain the necessary provincial licenses, leases and other approvals, as well as necessary federal approvals.

The Haida Nation, Lax Kw'alaams First Nation, Metlakatla First Nation and Gitxaala Nation were consulted on the assessment and the B.C. government is satisfied the Crown's duties to consult and accommodate First Nations have been discharged as they relate to the decision to grant the EA certificate.

The capital cost of the project is expected to be approximately $2 billion. The proponent projects that over a 40-year lifespan, approximately $1.1 billion in provincial and local government revenue will be generated, including property taxes, land transfer and tenure taxes, permit fees, and corporate taxes and levies. The three-year construction phase is expected to generate 421 person- years of direct, full-time employment.

More information on the environmental assessment certificate can be found at www.eao.gov.bc.ca.