More evidence that wind power is a mature technology, this time from Vancouver Island.

Sea Breeze Energy has received the go-ahead to develop the first large commercial wind development in the province: a $700 million wind farm that could provide enough power for 350,000 people.

The truly exciting thing, though, is that wind power was found to be cheaper than natural gas-fired power plants:

Wind energy comes in at seven cents a kilowatt hour for the life of a turbine because the wind is free, Dauncey said…

That compares to nine cents for natural-gas-fired energy, which is subject to market conditions and inflation and produces greenhouse emissions and air pollution, he said.

So even if you don’t count all the externalities of natural gas—greenhouse gas emissions, ecological effects of gas drilling and pipelines, etc.—wind still beats gas in a head-to-head economic comparison. And according to the article, there’s plenty more high-quality wind resources to be tapped in BC.

Which makes me wonder if BC should be thinking about phasing out its existing gas-fired generating plants. With the cost of natural gas rising (and unstable), there’s a chance that building new wind farms might even be cheaper over the long run than leaving the gas-fired plants running.