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BC Hydro congratulates Grouse Mountain Resort on The Eye of the Wind turbine's successful clean energy generation

Wind turbine

VANCOUVER, B.C. – BC Hydro and the Minister of Energy congratulated Grouse Mountain Resort for successfully energizing The Eye of the Wind on Wednesday, enabling the turbine to begin generating clean electricity, and creating a highly visible and inspirational landmark for renewable energy to both locals and visitors alike.

The Eye of the Wind has a capacity of 1.5 megawatts – which Grouse Mountain estimates is enough to power up to 400 homes a year – and is expected to generate up to 25 per cent of the resort's operational electricity needs annually.

The turbine was officially launched on Grouse Mountain in February. Specialized equipment to complete the electricity generation connection process was installed in late August, enabling the turbine to be connected to the BC Hydro system. During the final phase, and while the turbine produces power, BC Hydro and Grouse Mountain Resort will continue to monitor the energy output to gain operating information and experience.

"The Eye of the Wind is Vancouver's first commercially viable wind turbine and is a highly visible icon," said Bill Bennett, Minster of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. "We hope it will inspire companies and communities across the province to develop innovative, renewable energy projects in support of our provincial goal of becoming electricity self-sufficient by 2016."

"Congratulations to Grouse Mountain on being a leader in using wind energy to meet their electricity needs," said BC Hydro President and CEO Dave Cobb. "With this successful energizing of The Eye of the Wind, Grouse Mountain is not only starting down the road to energy self-sufficiency, but is also providing a tangible example of the kind of strong working relationships BC Hydro enjoys building with partners committed to clean and renewable energy."

"British Columbia has a shining new beacon for sustainability with the operation of The Eye of the Wind," said Stuart McLaughlin, President of Grouse Mountain Resorts. "Grouse Mountain is pleased to have the support of BC Hydro as we continue down our sustainable path. We invite everyone to visit the viewPOD™ to be blown away by the awesome power of wind energy at work in our province."

The Eye of the Wind is equipped with a one-of-a-kind panoramic viewPOD™ that is accessible by elevator – providing visitors with a close-up view of wind energy at work plus a 360-degree view of the Lower Mainland.

Weighing more than 250 tons and spanning 65 metres in height from the base to very top of the tower, the turbine consists of the viewPOD™, three tower sections, a hub, generator, nacelle, and three 37.4-metre blades. The concrete foundation is installed on bedrock and has 15-metre-deep anchors.

The various elements of The Eye of the Wind project were sourced from nine countries, spanning four continents. The turbine was built in collaboration between Grouse Mountain and Italy's Leitwind Technology. Leitwind is part of Leitner Technologies, a company that has been synonymous with high-performance technology of ropeways and snow groomers since 1888. Visitors can learn more on Grouse Mountain Resort's website.

The wind generation industry is growing in B.C. Developing clean energy from renewable power projects, including wind, is an integral part of the province's electricity planning along with promoting conservation, re-investing in BC Hydro's facilities, and building the Site C Clean Energy Project. Together, these supply options will enable the province to meet B.C.'s growing electricity demand, which is expected to grow by 20 to 40 per cent over the next 20 years.

About Grouse Mountain Resorts Limited

From sophisticated entertainment to unspoiled nature, Grouse Mountain is the pre-eminent all in one, four season destination with something for everyone. The wilderness paradise is located 15-minutes from downtown Vancouver, and the famous Grouse Mountain Skyride (North America's largest aerial tram system) takes visitors on a one-mile aerial journey to the Alpine Station, 3,700 feet above sea level.

Breathtaking panoramic views of the city, sea and surrounding mountains unfold, culminating with a summit altitude of 4,100 feet. A visiting hiking party named Grouse Mountain in 1894, after they encountered a blue grouse bird on the alpine slopes. Today, Grouse Mountain enjoys the status of Vancouver's most visited attraction receiving more than 1.2 million visitors each year.

About BC Hydro

BC Hydro is a commercial Crown corporation owned by the Province of British Columbia. As the third largest electric utility in Canada, BC Hydro serves customers in an area containing over 94% of British Columbia's population.

BC Hydro provides clean energy solutions to its customers by balancing British Columbians' energy needs with the concerns of the environment and generations to come.

For more information, please contact:

William Mbaho
Manager, Public Relations & Communications
Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd./ Whistler Water
Direct: 604 998 4255
Mobile: 604 764 8522

Susan Danard
Manager, Media Relations
BC Hydro
Direct: 604 623 4220
Mobile: 604 418 4782