Changes to plans for Summerview windfarm’s second phase, should make the project a little more palatable for those anti-wind.
“We’re putting in fewer turbines than planned, but using a different technology,” explained Jason Edworthy, director of stakeholder relations for Transalta Wind, at an open house held last week.
Instead of using V80 turbines as originally proposed, TransAlta will be expanding the windfarm using V90s, which are larger, but with a bigger megawatt output. As a result fewer turbines are required to achieve the same output.
TransAlta received approval for its expansion from the Municipal District of Pincher Creek back in 2004, but at the time there was not the transmission line capacity to bring the turbines online. Since then the Alberta Electric System Operator has continued to postpone the deadline for construction of the proposed 240Kv transmission line that would allow Summerview’s second phase to proceed. Recently, however, Edworthy says AESO has been citing the end of 2009 as the date when the line will be built.
With that date looking firm, TransAlta has to get approval from the municipality to upgrade its turbines so it can place its order with the manufacturer.
“The original turbines for phase two are no longer produced. So the next size up is just a bit bigger, but we can have fewer turbines,” Edworthy said.
Instead of the original 29, TransAlta is now proposing to add 22 turbines in the second phase. The new turbines will have taller towers, (instead of 67 metres they will be 80 metres high) and larger blade lengths (90 metres instead of 80). From the ground, Edworthy says, the size difference is barely noticeable.
“We think it’s just a simple change. It will have all the usual local benefits, taxes and it ties in with Vestas’ shop expansion.”
TransAlta is hoping to have work started on the expansion by summer next year.
The changes to the plan will go before the Municipal District of Pincher Creek this evening, Friday, May 23.
By Jocelyn Mercer
23 May 2008
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