Canada’s first wind farm is powering down.
After 23 years of electricity generation, the Cowley Ridge wind farm, west of Lethbridge near Pincher Creek, has reached the end of operating life and will be decommissioned, TransAlta has announced.
The 16-megawatt, 57-turbine wind farm has been operating since 1993, thus already passed its 20-year design lifespan.
TransAlta is reviewing the possibility of repowering the site with new and more efficient technology, however, said Amber Goulard, a TransAlta communications advisor.
She said negotiations could soon begin with the Alberta government to better understand the province’s long-term plans for adding renewables to the electricity grid and the regulations that will govern the renewables transition.
“Decommissioning Cowley Ridge represents the end of an era and we are extremely grateful for the foresight of Alberta wind pioneers in the 1990s, to the Municipal Districts who were open to the idea of wind generation, and the landowners who took a chance on a new source of energy generation,” Goulard said in a release.
“No investment decisions will be made at this time, but TransAlta will remain in contact with landowners, the municipalities and other stakeholders while the landscape in electricity generation in Alberta becomes more clear. TransAlta is currently planning for expansion of renewables, including wind, in Alberta as part of our transition to clean power by 2030.”
Cowley Ridge’s retirement is planned to take place in two phases, starting with decommissioning from April to June, followed by site reclamation. Goulard said TransAlta will work with regulators, the Alberta government and key stakeholders throughout the two phases.
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