NaiKun Wind Energy Group has tapped Siemens as the preferred turbine supplier for a 400MW offshore project in British Columbia (BC), Canada. The companies have agreed to “exclusively explore the opportunities for a joint execution” of the project. It would be located in the Hecate Strait between BC’s northern coastline and the Haida Gwaii archipelago.
NaiKun CEO Michael O’Connor says Siemens will assist in advancing the project, using its expertise to analyse data and optimise the wind farm design around the new Siemens 4MW turbine. Whether Siemens' involvement goes beyond that of turbine supplier remains to be seen. “It is too early to say right now. We would be really happy if we get to the point where everybody sees the project is going to proceed and they are interested in taking on some of that role,” says O'Connor.
NaiKun bid the project into BC Hydro’s last call for clean energy proposals in 2008, but it was rejected by the government-owned utility on cost grounds. An independent 2011 analysis put the costs at C$150/MWh, (€115/MWh), but O’Connor says falling turbine costs and rising productivity have lowered the project's levelised cost of energy to around C$89/MWh (€68/MWh).
BC’s northwest is also looking at potentially huge growth in power demand. At least five liquefied natural gas ports are on the drawing board and construction is underway on a new transmission line to supply mines and other industrial developments in the region. “I think our project is in the hunt,” says O’Connor.