It’s an impressive sight. A wind farm visible from the Okanagan Connector near the Pennask Summit. Five massive turbines spinning effortlessly to generate green power.
“When you come up over the hill it just suddenly shows up. It’s quite a dramatic introduction to wind turbines to the Okanagan Valley,” said Gordon Muir, operations manager for Okanagan Wind Sail.
They are massive structures.
“The tower from the base to the box of the turbine is 100 metres high,” Muir said.
That’s roughly the height of a 25 storey building. The blades are about half that length but the most important number is the rotor diametre which dictates how much energy the turbine can produce.
“Our rotor diametre here is 114 metres and that is amongst the largest in Canada.”
Muir said the five turbines can produce enough power to supply electricity to 4500 homes year round. There’s another five-turbine facility about 35 kilometres to the south. The power is sold to BC Hydro.
“We have something called an energy purchase agreement for 40 years,” Muir said.
So how much does a wind turbine cost?
“Three to six million dollars,” Muir said.
The blades are fabricated in Europe while the towers come from South Korea.
Some might say the turbines are interesting to look at but others might say they ruin the view. Muir believes it’s a matter of opinion.
“How are you supposed to argue against something so subjective? I can’t argue with a person on whether or not it disturbs the view. That’s their opinion.”