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Company gives details on wind energy project in Cypress County

MEDICINE HAT, AB – The company behind the latest wind project announced for southeastern Alberta shared some additional details about the project.

The Cypress Wind Project, which would be built by EDF Renewables, was announced as one of five successful projects in Alberta’s latest Renewable Electricity Program.

“We’re very excited and very pleased to have been selected as part of the program,” said Cory Basil, vice president of development with EDF Renewables. “We’re looking forward to investing into the province, investing more into renewable energy. We see this as a tremendous opportunity.”

It’s the second time in a year a project in southeastern Alberta was announced as a successful bidder in the auction. Capital Power’s Whitla Wind Farm was announced in the same program.

Basil says southern Alberta has been an area of interest for the company for the past several years.

“We started working in Alberta in earnest in 2013, when we started the construction of the Blackspring Ridge wind farm, a 300 megawatt wind farm north of Lethbridge,” he said over the phone from Toronto on Wednesday. “It went into service in 2014. It’s the largest wind farm in Western Canada. We then initiated a plan to continue development in other parts of the province, including Cypress County.”

Basil says southeastern Alberta lends itself to wind energy development.

“First of all, the wind resource is very strong, and that’s attractive when you’re developing wind farms,” he said. “Also, there was a lot of support from the local community, and finally, the geophysical makeup of the land is very attractive for developing wind farms. It’s all cultivated land, and less environmentally sensitive than in other areas.”

Basil says the project will have 48 wind turbines, and generate 202 megawatts of power once its fully operational. It will be located between Highway 41 and Township Road 100.

EDF Renewables will be partnering with the Blood Tribe to complete the project, who they previously partnered with on the Blackspring Ridge project. One of the requirements in this round of the Renewable Electricity Program was a partnership with Indigenous groups.

Basil says they’re estimating 250 jobs during construction, and between 10 to 15 permanent jobs once its operational.

He says they are planning to continue consultation with the county throughout 2019, as they wait for approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission, the Alberta Electric System Operator and Alberta Environment and Parks for the project to go ahead.

Basil says the current plan is to break ground in 2020, with the project becoming operational in June 2021.