Welcome to the official website of the proposed Zonnebeke Wind Energy Project! This website has been created to provide information about the proposed project to local stakeholders and residents, and the First Nation communities of British Columbia.
About The Project
The Zonnebeke Wind Energy Project was developed by the Zonnebeke Wind Project Limited Partnership, a partnership between Natural Forces and West Moberly First Nation. This Project has an installed capacity of 15 MW and is located on crown land within the Peace River Region approximately 16 km south of Chetwynd and nine kilometers west of Lone Prairie, BC. Natural Forces, a renewable energy developer, developed this Project on behalf of the Limited Partnership. The Project consists of 4 turbines. On April 1st, 2021, the Zonnebeke Wind Energy Project was officially commissioned by BC Hydro.
April 1, 2021
- The project is now operational!
November 2020 – March, 2021
- Testing onsite
- Pre-commissioning activities with BC Hydro
- T3: EWR continued grid connection work and began cable pull.
- T4: EWR continued grid connection works.
- T6: EWR re-assembled the 3800 crane and completed top-out of WEC components.
- T7: EWR continued pre-assembly proccess.
- Sub-station scope (including sealing outdoor conduits, lighting install, QA/QC, ground mats, grounding 2D1, generator splices, site clean-up, and prepare for demobilization) in ongoing.
- Site clean up of the T2 pad, T4 pad, T8 pad, roads and drainage.
- Continuation of splicing, terminations, and MET tower installations.
- Road grading and sanding has been completed as necessary to accommodate crane moves and activities during wet or snowy conditions.
- Installed steel reinforcements on Turbine 1 and 8, completed mud slab pouring on all turbines
- Began clearing trees for BOP transmission lines
- Turbine 5 crane pad lay down and began building crane assembly at Turbine 7
- Completed Turbine 7 foundation and began construction road to Turbine 5
- Began construction of Turbine 6 and 7 access roads and pored mud slabs for Turbine 1, 2 and 8.
- Began installing steel reinforcements on Turbine 1 and 2
- Completed remain access roads, installed foundation baskets
- Excavated foundation for Turbine 1 and 2
- Excavated foundation for Turbine 3 and 8
- Prepped Turbine 7 site to begin developing
- Cleared Turbine 5 site and excavated Turbine 7 site
- Began grading of the eastern and southern access roads
- Trimming bushes encroaching on access roads and grading batch area
- Turbine sites 1 through 4 are ready for excavation of their foundations
- Worked on Turbine 8’s access road and pad
Natural Forces is committed to establishing positive relationships with the community by means of public information sessions and community consultation. In doing so, we will address concerns about this proposed development raised by local residents and community members.
Throughout the length of the project’s development, construction, operational, and decommissioning phases, Natural Forces is committed to:
- Constant consultation with residents of nearby communities
- Continuous discussions with the local councilors, MLAs and business owners
- Informing the public of the project’s progress using this website, newsletters, public open houses and press releases.
Third open information session – June 2017
Similar to the 2016 meeting, the third public information session was held to provide an update on the Project to community members, business owners and local government. A fourth Information Session will be planned for 2018.
Second open information session – February 2016
The second open information session hosted by Natural Forces at the Chetwynd and District Rec Center was on February 24th 2016. The session was held from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and attended by approximately 30 people. This meeting was a follow-up from the first open session in July 2015 and it was held to give an update on the project to community members, business owners and local government. Presented at the meeting were changes made to the project layout and a more finalized timeline. Also available were the results of the environmental surveys conducted for the development plan submission.
A public information session was hosted by Natural Forces at the Chetwynd & District Rec Centre on July 23rd 2015. This meeting was held to introduce the projects being co-developed to the community and also receive input from local residents who live and work in the area surrounding the project. Several members of Natural Forces were present to answer questions regarding the proposed projects. Experts conducting the environmental studies on site were also present at the session. This information session is the first of several that will be hosted in the next few years of development.
- An increase in demand for local goods and services during the feasibility and construction phases of development.
- The creation of jobs during the construction phase.
- The creation of a small number of permanent positions during the wind farm’s operational life for maintenance.
- Renewable energy supply in the region to help meet growing energy demand.
What is the process?
- Assess the wind resource
- Survey for environmentally sensitive features
- Present the Development Plan for approval
- Begin consultation with regulators and the public
- Optimize turbine location to capture the wind efficiently and minimize impact on sensitive features
- Apply for road, work and construction permits
- Clear trees for roads and turbine pads
- Build access roads and pad areas
- Pour the turbine foundation
- Assemble the wind turbine
- Connect to BC Hydro’s electrical grid
- Current phase as of April 1st, 2021
- Commission the wind turbines to start producing power
- Conduct post-construction wildlife monitoring
- Monitor remotely for real time alerts when additional maintenance is needed
- Operate for 40 years
Decommission or Retrofit
- Assess wind turbine after 40 years
- Decommission wind turbines in 3-6 months
- Reclaim the site to its former state OR
- Receive approvals and permits to retrofit the turbine to continue harnessing energy
Environmental Impact Assessment
Due to the size of the project and its location on Crown Land, a Development Plan was required by the provincial government in lieu of environmental assessments. The Development Plan was developed in the same manner as an environmental assessment and gathered information about the current environment and assessed if the project would pose a risk of impact. The plan also assessed risk on social, economic and cultural components.
To fully assess the potential environmental impacts of the project, comprehensive studies including the following were conducted:
- Fish habitat
- Wildlife such as: ungulates, grizzly bears, birds, bats, and furbearers
- Wetlands and Watercourses surveys
- Species at risk
- Vegetation and habitat surveys
- Culturally significant vegetation surveys
- Geophysical studies
- Noise assessments
- Visual assessments
- Archaeological Assessments
Frequently Asked Questions
We are an independent Power Producer with offices in Ireland, Halifax and Vancouver that aim to develop, construct and operate renewable energy projects in partnership with local communities across Canada. For more information, please visit our website by clicking here.
Wind turbines start operating at wind speeds of 4 to 5 meters per second (around 10 miles per hour) and reach maximum power output at around 15 meters per seond (around 33 miles per hour). In gale force winds (25 meters per second, 50+ miles per hour) wind turbines shut down to reduce unnecessary wear and tear. For more information on wind energy, see the CanWEA factsheets on wind energy.
Since wind turbines are large mechanical equipment, they can be expected to produce noise. However, as wind turbine technology has evolved, the sound emitted by wind turbines has decreased, In current designs the mechanical noise is almost obsolete, resulting in only the interaction of the air and the turbine parts producing noise. This noise decreases as the radial distance from the turbine increases. To relate this, the compressor of a refrigerator produces 40-45 dB of noise. According to the Government of Nova Scotia, a wind energy project would have a noise level of between 35-45 dB at 350 meters away (Check out the Energy Nova Scotia Wind Page for more information). Federal and provincial jurisdictions establish minimum distances from turbines to occupied dwellings to minimize this noise.
A study done by Health Canada in 2014 investigated the health effects of wind turbine noise. This study found that wind turbine noise was not associated with self-reported slip, illness or stress levels. The summary of these results can be reviewed on the Health Canada Environmental and Workplace Health page.
The greatest impact to wildlife is climate change, and wind energy is an important contribution to combating it. During the development of a wind farm, an Avian Impact Assessment Report is created, and submitted within the project’s Environmental Assessment. The report typically contains detail on the avian monitoring methodology used, the associated data recorded, and the conclusions drawn.
Through careful design and making use of several kilometers of existing forestry roads to access the turbines, disturbance of the Project on the land can be minimized. Delineating a zone of no disturbance around environmentally and culturally significant areas will help to protect these features, as well using an area that has been disturbed (and clear cut) by previous forestry activities will help reduce new disturbance areas. During Construction, multiple environmental monitors will be onsite following a rigorous environmental management plan.
Natural Forces, on behalf of the Limited Partnerships that own the projects, will act as general contractor for the projects and hire contractors for the different project components including electrical works, civil works, foundation works and safety. The contracts will be awarded through a selective RFP process.
At the peak of construction there will be approximately 30-50 jobs. During the off-peak time of construction there will be a need for approximately 10-20 people on site and only a handful of people will be required on site while the site is commissioned and operating.
Construction is due to begin in the summer of 2018 with tree clearing activities. Roads, turbine foundations, collection system and substation work will start in the summer of 2019 and will continue until late fall of 2020. The wind turbines will be installed in the summer and fall of 2020.
There are two options for the decommissioning of the turbines:
- The turbines could be taken down and the lands restored.
- The turbines could be retrofitted and could continue to function for an extended term.