Lots of power potential here

Local businesses need to be ready to capitalize on clean energy projects that could spring up in the northwest.

  • Mar. 17, 2011 4:00 p.m.

Local businesses need to be ready to capitalize on clean energy projects that could spring up in the northwest.

That’s what Alexi Zawadzki, Swift Power’s vice president of hydro projects, told local Chamber of Commerce members during a lunch meeting yesterday.

(There’s) a bunch of different clean energy technologies that are potentially developable in and around the Terrace area,” he said, saying this poses opportunities and economic potential for the area.

Wind, geothermal and run-of-river projects are all possibilities for the North Coast, he said, adding that the increasing demand in energy will make economic sense for potential projects up here.

Zawadzki and other Swift Power officials have spent the last few years looking into the possibility of run-of-river projects in the Terrace area.

They’ve identified six creeks – Dasque, Middle, Chimdemash, Kleanza, Quill and Lorne Creek near Cedarvale – as areas of interest.

The Vancouver-based company was bought out by Calgary-based energy company Fort Chicago Pipelines (Canada) Ltd. last summer, which has since changed its name to Veresen Inc. Veresen owns and operates pipeline transportation, natural gas liquids and power across North America.

Swift Power has concentrated on Dasque and Middle Creek, located approximately 20 km west of Terrace. It’s hoping to build a 12 megawatt project on Dasque Creek and an eight megawatt project on Middle Creek, which will be tied into the Skeena substation.

B.C. is literally the Saudi Arabia of clean energy,” Zawadzki told chamber members, and said Terrace needs to capitalize on this clean energy run.

While part of this is promoting services like consulting or road building, training and education up here should also be offered to the industry.

The company has been working with a class from Northwest Community College, and is taking the students out in the field today to give them some hands-on training.

If permits are approved in time, Swift Power is hoping to start the two-year construction process this spring.

The Dasque cluster project would cost around $60 million to build, and Zawadzki estimated it would need approximately 30 to 50 workers on the ground at any given time, and possibly up to 100 during peak construction.

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