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Wind prospecting in British Columbia, Canada: a report on the feasibility of the standing offer program

Closson, Michelle (2008) Wind prospecting in British Columbia, Canada: a report on the feasibility of the standing offer program. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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This report evaluated the effectiveness of the BC Hydro Standing Offer Program (SOP) at encouraging the development of smaller wind projects. The BC Predicted Wind Speed Atlas, collected meteorological data, and RETscreen financial model were used to conduct feasibility analyses in four promising regions – Vancouver Island, North Coast, Eastern and Southern Interior, and the Peace region. The BC Predicted Wind Speed Map was used as a tool to identify where the average annual wind speed is sufficient to warrant a feasible project under the BC Hydro Standing Offer Program according to a variety of assumptions and constraints. Collected meteorological data was used to validate the BC Wind Atlas. The report concludes that the BC Predicted Wind Speed Atlas is an accurate tool and can be used by developers for identifying areas of good wind potential to initiate assessment. RETScreen was used to conduct the financial analysis. Four analyses were conducted for each of the regions to determine the wind speed required for projects signing a 20 or 40 year SOP contract in order to achieve 0% or 8% internal rate of return (IRR). The IRR was used as a measure to determine the financial viability of a project. An 8% IRR is considered relatively low from the perspective of financers, but was considered in this report as the lower range suitable for smaller, community-based projects. Realistically, the IRR would typically be required to be at least 12% in order to be considered for project financing. The financial analysis revealed that the BC Hydro Standing Offer Program does not provide an adequate payment price to encourage development of small wind projects. iv The report highly recommends that BC Hydro increase the base payment prices to at least 11 cents per kilowatt hour at the two year review period.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Whale, Jonathan
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