In 2011, Northern Lights College received a $100,000 grant and a $38,320 loan from Northern Development through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program towards this $494,000 project. This has been a funding partnership of Northern Lights College and Northern Development
The Dawson Creek Campus of the Northern Lights College secured funding in 2011 to construct a new training tower for use in the college’s innovative Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician Program. The training tower is designed to replicate the conditions faced by wind turbine technicians when repairing, maintaining, installing, or doing other work on a wind turbine system.
Dawson Creek is an ideal location for this new trades program. Wind energy is a new and growing source of electricity production in British Columbi, and throughout North America, and there is a particular development of the sector in Northeast BC. By incorporating the new training tower into the Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician program, Northern Lights College is helping its graduates to qualify for BZEE certification, an international standard required by many wind turbine companies. The Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician program offers residents of Northern BC a unique opportunity to enter this field, as it is the only program of its kind offered in British Columbia.
"With plans for many more wind parks in the northeast region of British Columbia, we could see a possibility of over 1,000 turbines throughout the Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Tumbler Ridge areas. We realize that we need to start to train technicians to do the maintenance on this equipment, and the best way to do it is to teach them on the machinery they will be using in the field."Howard Mayer, Dean, Northern Lights College
The Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician Program will create up to 24 highly skilled and employable technicians each year, which in turn will support local, sustainable employment. Further, the availability of technicians will support the growth of the wind energy sector.
With more than a dozen 1000+ megawatt wind farms being planned for British Columbia, there will be a high demand for the products needed to build the wind turbine towers. The tower used in the Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician Program will be used as a model to demonstrate that the towers can be built from cross-laminated timber. Each tower uses an estimated 1,000 cubic metres of wood, which could result in a new demand for local timber and lumber products along with the creation of hundreds of new full-time jobs in the region.