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Alberta Utilities Commission approves large wind power project; MD of Provost had refused development permits for it

EDMONTON – The Alberta Utilities Commission gave the green light Thursday to a large wind power project in the Municipal District of Provost which had previously refused to approve development permits for it.

The AUC overruled the MD and approved the Bull Creek project by BluEarth Renewables with 46 wind towers, 27 of which are in the MD of Provost. The rest will be built in the adjacent Municipal District of Wainwright which had approved the development.

The $240 million project will be generate about 100 megawatts of electricity.

The MD of Provost had turned down the development because it did not fit with existing land uses and there was considerable opposition. The area is already used for farming and ranching and there is considerable oil and gas activity.

The commission dismissed residents’ concerns about noise and environmental concerns about migratory birds, noting that the Alberta environment department had “signed off” on the project.

“The Commission finds that the negative effects of the project, which include visual impacts, noise, annoyance, and impacts to the environment can be mitigated to an acceptable degree,” says the decision.

The project will also provide “some economic benefit to the community” and contribute to the development of the electricity grid.

“The commission is also satisfied any safety concerns about the project in proximity to oil and gas pipelines can be effectively mitigated,” says the decision.

The commission took into account the opposition of the MD of Provost but also “letters of support” for the project, says the decision. Residents worried about noise and sleep disruption also raised concerns about potential harm to “a global migratory bird route” through the area and a high risk of bat fatalities.