Big Lakes to lobby for wind project

Dots on the map show potential locations of wind turbines in the proposed Northern Lights Wind Power project near Swan Hills.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County is pushing to get a major wind project located in the south part of the region just north of Swan Hills.

At its regular meeting Aug 25, council approved a briefing to lobby the provincial government to allow the proposed Northern Lights Wind Power Project from Potentia Renewables.

The recommendation was proposed by Brett Hawken, director of community and protective services.

“Administration proposes to add this potential project to keep pushing government to allow Potentia Renewables to dispose public land for the project,” Hawken says.

Council learned about the proposal from Joss Wind Power Inc. president Bryan Clake and other partners at its regular meeting July 28.

Joss Wind wants to locate about 100 wind turbines reaching 110 meters in height in the county north of the Town of Swan Hills.

The project is proposed for an area known as Goose Mountain Ridge where no residential properties are located.

At its regular meeting Aug. 11, council directed administration to send a letter to Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon to express the county’s support for the project.

The large-scale project could reach 400 MWs in size with capital expenditures of up to $800 million, the briefing states.

“This project could lead to the creation of up to 1,000 jobs for construction and operation activities in northern Alberta, specifically within Big Lakes County and significant economic development opportunities for our communities,” the briefing notes state.

“Municipal revenues could reach up to $100 million over the project’s life.”

Big Lakes council believes the project has many other benefits as listed in the briefing to government.

Initial public land dispositions within a small well-defined region should be the most expeditious path forward.

Quick action would resolve an inequity where northern communities are denied access to significant renewables investment on highly disturbed public lands.

Improved regional diversification in wind farms will strengthen the power grid and reduce costs for transmission system expansions.

The project can supply low-cost power for consumers and low-cost offsets for large industries within Alberta.

Each turbine would generate enough power each hour to power an average home for 23 months, and it would take Joss Wind Power three years to begin production in 2025, Joss Wind Power president Bryan Clake told council at its meeting July 28.

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