Three days of hearings are set to begin today in Oyen, near where EDP Renewables plans to build an 83-turbine windfarm next year at an estimated cost of $500 million.
The Alberta Utilities Commission will hear the company’s final proposal to locate, construct and operate phase one of the Sharphills Windfarm.
The company says the economic impact will be a boost for the area, local government and landowners.
A group of residents however, oppose the project on the grounds that not enough study has been done, it will lower land values around the project and claim health and environmental impacts need more careful study.
“We are hoping to build the project next year,” Tom LoTurco of EDP Renewables told the News on Monday. “We’ve got some clear goals and we’ll put the facts on the table.”
Calgary law firm McLennan Ross represents the Clearview Group, an intervenor in the process, and which is operated by Sheldon Krocker, who along with family members owns land adjacent to the project near Sedelia.
Sharphills was awarded a long-term power supply contract in last year’s renewable energy auction held by the Alberta Electric Systems operator.
The same process awarded a 200 megawatt contract to the Capital Power Whitla Wind farm near Bow Island, and two projects near Pincher Creek.
The Sharp Hills project was originally proposed by the Alberta Wind Energy Corporation before it was sold to EDP in 2015, though it reports it maintains a financial stake in the project.
EDP states that 148 temporary full-time jobs would be created during construction, and about 20 permanent positions would be needed for ongoing operations.
It would also provide about $2 million per year in tax revenue to the Special Areas Board.
LoTurco also says the company has final agreements with landowners for lease and access rates for land comprising 50,000 acres.
The hearing is scheduled for three days at the Canalta Hotel in Oyen. An audio broadcast of the proceedings will be available via the AUC’s website.
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