Developer Eyes California to Buy Canadian Wind Energy
Jan 22, 2007 California Energy
Katabatic Corp. is hoping California
will have an interest in buying power generated from
the 3,000 MW Banks Island wind project slated for
a 120-mile parcel of land along the northwest coast
of British Columbia.
Under terms of the deal announced Jan.
12, Katabatic will develop the first 700 MW of the
project in the next two years, with an eye to starting
construction in early 2009. When fully built, the
project could cost roughly $5 billion. The amount
of the initial financing, supplied by Deutsche Bank
AG, was not disclosed.
Katabatic, which has offices in B.C.
and San Francisco, plans to apply for a power-purchase
agreement with BC Hydro in the utility's call for
tenders, expected later this year.
But a large chunk of the power could
find its way to the U.S., and specifically to utilities
in California that need to acquire 20 percent of their
power from renewables by 2010, Jonathan Raymond, chief
operating officer of Katabatic, told California Energy
"With 3,000 MW, we more than likely
will not sell it all to BC Hydro," Raymond said. "So
we are looking at other purchase agreements with utilities
in Washington, Oregon and California. But we have
to solve some transmission issues first."
Pacific Gas & Electric is already exploring
building a transmission line into B.C. to import renewable
energy from the province and has asked the California
Public Utilities Commission for money to cover a feasibility
study. The utility did not return calls for comment
on the project or the status on transmission line
Raymond said the company would develop
as much of the project as possible for BC Hydro, and
would keep a close eye on several transmission projects
that could link British Columbia with the U.S.
Specifically, Katabatic is pulling for
PG&E to build its proposed transmission line from
British Columbia to Northern California. "I think
it's inevitable that PG&E will build some large-scale
transmission project to bring in renewables from outside
of California," Raymond said.
Part of the first phase of construction
of the Banks Island project will be an 80-mile transmission
line linking the project to the Canadian mainland
and BC Hydro's transmission system.
Katabatic is developing one of the three
wind farms selected in BC Hydro's 2006 call for tenders.
The company's 25 MW Mount Hays wind farm is expected
to be operational in 2008.
Winds at the Banks Island site peak
in the winter, Raymond said. "They are pretty consistent
throughout the year, but are strongest from October
to April," he said.
The company will focus on project design
and permitting, acquiring turbines and inking a power-purchase
deal over the next two years, Raymond said. He declined
to say when the company would ask the provincial government
to begin its environmental review of the project.
"We have a world-class wind resource
that's typically only found offshore, but here we
get to work onshore, with good topography and straightforward
logistics for construction and turbine delivery-it's
a wonderful opportunity," said Anthony Duggleby, chief
executive officer of Katabatic, in a prepared statement