MEDICINE HAT, AB – Three companies have been selected to build wind power facilities in the province, including two in southeastern Alberta, following the first bidding round for Alberta’s Renewable Electricty Program.
The provincial government made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, noting the three projects will add approximately 600 megawatts of renewable power, or enough to power up to 255,000 homes.
The projects represent 200 more megawatts than originally planned.
Capital Power, EDP Renewables Canada and Enel Green Power North American were selected to build the new projects.
Capital Power, based in Edmonton, will build the Whitla Wind Facility, located approximately 60 kilometres outside of Medicine Hat. The facility will provide 201 megawatts of power.
EDP Renewables Canada will build a 248 megawatt wind farm at their Sharp Hills project, which is located east of Hanna, and located roughly 50 kilometres north of Oyen.
Enel Green Power North America, Inc. had two projects approved, both located outside of Pincher Creek. The company will build the 115-megawatt Riverview Wind Farm and the 31-megawatt second phase of the Castle Rock Ridge Wind Power Plant.
Capital Power President and CEO Brian Vaasjo, said his company is excited to be one of the first to have their bid selected.
“We’re certainly very pleased to have won one of the spots in the first round of procurement,” he said over the phone from Calgary on Wednesday, noting the process was extremely competitive.
Vaasjo said they’ve had their eye on southern Alberta for several years. Capital Power acquired the area from Shell previously, and was planning to get into the renewable energy market.
He said southern Alberta is an ideal place to generate wind power.
“Generally speaking, that region of the province has a phenomenal wind resource,” he said. “It’s close to as good as any in North America.”
He adds, “As you move more north in the province, the wind resource becomes less and less positive. Even if you go into B.C. or into Saskatchewan, the wind resource doesn’t seem to be as good as it is in southern Alberta.”
Vaasjo said construction on the 33,000 acre project will get underway in 2018. Between 50 and 60 turbines will be built as part of the project, and said the Whitla project will have a positive economic impact on the region, noting there will likely be 300,000 hours of employment in construction alone.
“At the peak of construction, you’ll see about 200 people working on site,” he said. “A significant amount of that will be local employment, plus the goods and services that will be required on site and during construction.”
Vaasjo said the company is committed to southern Alberta, and will be opening an office once the facility is operational. He anticipates 10 people will be employed for ongoing management.
“After construction, you can expect to see us around then as well,” he said.
The weighted average price of the successful bids is 3.7 cents per kilowatt hour, the lowest in Canada so far. In comparison, an Ontario procurement last year had a weighted average price of 8.5 cents per kilowatt hour.
The Whitla Wind Facility is scheduled to go online in late 2019. More information about the facility can be found here.
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