Two private energy companies have been granted permission from the province to build two major wind farms that could eventually produce enough electricity for 230,000 homes

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One of the projects, to be built by Vancouver-based NaiKun Wind Development, will be Canada’s first offshore wind-energy site, located east of Haida Gwaii in Hecate Strait.

“The project will play an important role in helping the province reach its goal of becoming electricity self-sufficient by 2016, while also providing major economic benefits to B.C.’s north-coast communities,” said Paul Taylor, NaiKun Wind’s president and CEO.

With a capacity of 396 megawatts, the project could produce enough electricity annually for about 130,000 homes.

It will also include an underwater cable and overland transmission line connecting to B.C. Hydro’s grid on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert, and HaidaLink, a marine cable and infrastructure supplying electricity to Graham Island near Tlell.

Thunder Mountain Wind Limited Partnership of Sidney will build the second project, which will produce up to 320 megawatts of electricity and could produce enough electricity annually for about 100,000 homes.

The $1-billion project, sited about 45 kilometres southeast of Tumbler Ridge, will consist of 160 wind-turbine generators, five substations, a 65-km transmission line, and maintenance roads.

Thunder Mountain hopes to start construction in 2010. NaiKun would start between 2012 and 2014.

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