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Carmangay area residents in favour of wind power project

Barbara Lennon could think of nothing wrong with a proposed wind power project near the village.

Greengate Power Corporation held an open house at Carmangay School on June 24 to allow the public to see diagrams of the project and talk to company representatives.

“I can’t think of anything that would bother me,” she said during an interview.
Anything that keeps companies from taking non-renewable resources out of the ground is a good thing, she said.

“I think it’s clean and ecologically sound,” she said. “I like that.”

She was “blown away” that anyone would care about the shadows cast by the turbines, which Greengate has had to account for.

While some residents in other communities have complained about their views after turbines have been put in, Lennon actually wouldn’t mind having something else to glimpse at.

“It’s so flat that it’ll be nice to see something on the horizon.”

The Carmangay area is definitely windy enough for wind turbines to work well there, said Lennon.

Allison Plourde, who lives on a six-acre property with husband Jeffrey,
saw that three turbines would each be located on two adjacent pieces of land.

“I want to know what’s going on because it’s my neighbourhood,” she said.

She had not decided last week whether she was for or against the project. If it goes ahead, Plourde wants to learn about it before the turbines are built, Plourde added.

Plourde, a former Calgary resident, likes the open space in the country but would rather see wind power turbines being built than an apartment
building or a feed lot.

“It could be a lot worse,” she said.

Dan Balaban, Greengate’s president and chief executive officer, has been encouraged by the response to the proposal.

“I’d say the feedback is very positive,” he said.

Noise levels are within acceptable levels, as there is no affected residence with more than 40 decibels, he said.

“Shadow flicker” is not a problem either, he said, as the amount of shadows cast at any affected residence would be less than 30 hours per year.

The company would install a maximum of three turbines on one quarter-section, he said.

Greengate has been busy, working the proposed project, said Balaban.

The Calgary-based company has acquired more lease rights for its project, and now has more than 50,000 acres of land on which it could place turbines.
The company has also been working on the required environmental assessment and is about halfway through that process.

The assessment should be completed by the end of the year, said Balaban.
Greengate has nearly finished its design, too.

“We have a very good idea where the turbines are going to go,” he said.

The company is trying to complete the groundwork as soon as possible because this project can tie into the existing power system, said Balaban.

“We’ve got a fairly aggressive time frame,” he said.

Greengate still needs at least a years’ worth of wind data to know if the average wind speed is strong enough to support the proposed project. But the company, which has several months of information now, is encouraged by the results so far, said Balaban.

The project still needs regulatory approval, and also needs Vulcan County’s blessing, too.

Greengate proposes to install about 200 wind turbines, with the project generating 300 megawatts of power. Construction would begin in 2009 or 2010, and Blackspring Ridge would be operational in 2010 or 2011.

Greengate also has plans for a second phase, but that phase would require an upgrade to the transmission system, said Balaban.

Stephen Tipper

Vulcan Advocate

2 July 2008