Greengate Power Corp. has been given the regulatory green light on what could be Canada’s largest wind farm, the privately-owned company said Thursday.
The Calgary-based company expects to start building the Blackspring Ridge I project in 2012, with an in-service date of 2013.
Located near the village of Carmangay, about 30 kilometres north of Lethbridge, the project will add 300 megawatts of power to the provincial grid, said CEO Dan Balaban.
“We are very pleased to have received AUC approval for what we expect to be Canada’s largest operating wind energy project,” Balaban said in a news release.
Alberta boasts about 777 MW of wind power connected to its grid, with another 1,500 MW in projects cued up for approval in the Hanna region alone, according to the Alberta Electric System Operator.
The transmission operator is deep into its $1.8-billion Southern Alberta Transmission Reinforcement project, which will have the capacity to connect up to 2,700 MW of wind power to the grid once fully implemented in 2015, said spokeswoman Dawn Delaney.
The ambitious project is part of the AESO’s $14.8-billion provincial transmission reinforment plan being implemented over the next decade.
Thursday’s announcement is indicative of trends within the industry to build bigger wind farms, but also of growing interest in the resource despite competing energy sources, said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
“Even at a time when we see low natural gas prices, there have been a number of new wind projects come online in Alberta,” Hornung said.
Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert noted renewable energy represents 12 per cent of provincial power sources, including eight per cent from wind. “I think the projections are that wind is going to be up to about 11 or 12 per cent on its own in three to five years,” he said in the Alberta Legislature Wednesday.
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