A Vancouver-based company is seeking approval for a $150-million wind farm near Trochu.
The wind project is one of several proposed in Central Alberta by companies looking to fill the province’s growing power needs.
Finavera Renewable is planning an open house on Thursday in Trochu to discuss its plan for about 45 windmills on 8,000 acres.
The Ghost Pine project, 3.5 km northwest of Trochu, would provide 75 megawatts of power – enough to power 26,000 homes. The power would be sold to Alberta’s power grid for distribution.
Myke Clark, company vice-president of policy and public relations, said the area near Trochu is attractive because of consistent high winds.
Small towers have been measuring the wind, producing three years worth of data.
Clark said it may not feel windy on the ground, but windmill blades operate 80 metres above ground where winds are stronger.
Finavera has secured options for leasing some of the needed land. Landowners are receiving small payments for the options.
“A lot of people with option agreements are looking forward to this project finally moving forward,” said Clark.
In past years, Penn West Energy owned the Ghost Pine project and was trying to get out of it, creating uncertainly, said Clark.
In March, Finavera purchased Ghost Pine and another project from Penn West Energy for $3.35 million.
An environmental assessment is underway. Part of it involves looking at the impact on birds and the type of birds in the area.
Modern windmills don’t make a lot of noise and they must conform with sound-level regulations, said Clark.
The project will also require review by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB).
Development of the Ghost Pine project could begin late next year, followed by operations in 2009.
The company is also looking at a second wind farm in the Trochu area. The Lone Pine project is not as advanced as the Ghost Pine project and details are not being released at this time. Some option agreements have been signed with landowners.
In October, Greengate Power Corp. talked to landowners about setting up 50 windmills on 30 quarter sections on and around Radar Hill, between Pine Lake and Red Deer.
The company also proposes a project near Halkirk west of Stettler, Wintering Hills near Drumheller and three other areas in Southern Alberta.
Clark said windmill technology has progressed to the point that wind farms are profitable. “In the past, a lot of subsidies were required to build wind projects.”
Finavera (FVR) is traded on the TSX-V.
The open house will be held at the Trochu Community Hall on Thursday from 3 to 8 p.m.
The provincial government foresees nearly doubling the amount of wind-power generation allowed in Alberta, even as it remains the only jurisdiction in Canada to cap the production of wind energy.
By Andrea Miller
20 November 2007
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