$600-million project would generate 300 Megawatts
A proposed wind power project near Carmangay would be the largest in Canada if it were operating today, according to the company behind it.
Calgary-based Greengate Power Corporation has a 300-Megawatt power project in the works, on a place called Blackspring Ridge, that would put about 150 wind towers on the ground near Carmangay.
The company hopes to put three wind-monitoring towers in place in February to gather wind data. Greengate must first receive approval from Vulcan County, and that proposal is scheduled to go
before the County’s Municipal Planning Commission on Feb. 6.
If all goes smoothly, the towers are projected to be in place in 2010, said Dan Balaban, Greengate’s president and CEO.
The total projected cost is estimated at $600 million.
“We’re in the development stage of the project,” said Balaban, adding it must now be proven that the
project could succeed before proceeding.
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) provided a preliminary interconnection assessment last month indicating that the proposed interconnected is technically feasible and that there is likely available transmission capacity for the project, according to Greengate’s website.
Greengate says the project is adjacent to a 240-kilovolt transmission line with available capacity.
But there are many steps that need to be completed before the turbines go up, said
Balaban, and that includes needing a years’ worth of wind data, completing the public consultation process and environmental assessment work.
Greengate already has the land, community support and access to the transmission grid, said Balaban. All that the company needs now is verified wind data, he said.
The company, which has been working on the project for about six months, has lease and royal agreements with local landowners, said Balaban.
Blackspring would be developed on more than 30,000 acres of private land, says Greengate.
The site itself is a “nice high ridge with fairly good topograph,” and it’s relatively easy to construct there, Balaban said. The location has a clear view to the mountains, and the area is relatively sparsely populated. And, of course, the area is windy.
Next generation wind power projects such as Blackspring will feature more turbines, said Balaban. In addition to the huge first phase, the company has plans for a second phase that’s just as large.
The province has a demand for renewal resource projects, he said.
Alberta companies wanting to develop wind power projects have been in a bit of a “pause mode” while AESO put a threshold on wind power.
The threshold, which began in 2006, has been removed. AESO implemented it because wind power causes problems with the reliability of the transmission system, and AESO also wanted to take a look at the system’s capacity, said an AESO spokesperson.
No new wind power projects were approved while the threshold was in effect.
“And now that the cap’s removed, it is basically like unscrewing the cork,” said Balaban.
By Stephen Tipper
30 January 2008
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