Thursday, 21 December 2017 06:19

Three SE Alta. companies, four projects score big in renewable energy project auction

Written by  Jamie Rieger
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Three companies, with four projects will be starting the next stages of their projects after being named the successful bidders and awarded 20-year contracts, in the first round of competition through the Alberta Renewable Electricity Program. Premier Rachel Notley made the announcement on Dec. 13 in Calgary.

"I am pleased to see our plan is working to make life better and more affordable. This highly competitive program is attracting investment from Alberta and around the world, creating new jobs in our province while getting Albertans the most renewable power generation for the lowest cost," said Premier Rachel Notley.
It is expected these projects will result in about $1 billion of private-sector investment in green power generation and will add approximately 600 megawatts of electrical power to the grid, enough for up to 255,000 homes. Initially, the first round of competition was for 400 megawatts. Job creation from these first-round projects is significant, with 740 jobs expected.
The County of Forty Mile will see the 201.6-megawatt Whitla Wind project being built east of Forty Mile reservoir, with the target commercial operation date slated for the fourth quarter of 2019.
"As an Alberta-based company, we're proud to be selected amongst global competition to be one of the first projects under this program to drive Alberta's transition to a clean energy future. With the exceptional wind resource in southeast Alberta, Whitla Wind will be an excellent and low-cost source of new wind power for Albertans," said Brian Vaasjo, president and CEO of Capital Power.
County of Forty Mile reeve Steve Wikkerink said the county was excited by the announcement.
"As a county, we are very excited. This is something we have been hoping for. It's a win-win for everybody involved," said Wikkerink.
In discussions with Capital Power in recent months, the County stressed that they wanted local contractors used as much as possible. The County of Forty Mile, Capital Power, and Theresa Hardiker will be meeting soon to discuss the process in moving forward.
"We'll get our heads together and see what their (Capital Power) plans are and we will have more details after that," he said.
Special Areas also received the good news on Dec. 13t hat the 248-megawatt EDP Renewables wind farm at the Sharp Hills project north of Oyen, near the hamlets of Sedelia and New Brigden was one of the successful projects.
"We're thrilled to be investing in Alberta and look forward to the Sharp Hills Wind Farm opening in the Hanna area, which has a strong track record in energy production. As a global company, we look forward to creating jobs and tax revenue for this region while generating low-cost, clean electricity for Albertans to enjoy," said Ryan Brown, vice-president Eastern Region and Canada EDP Renewables.
Jordan Christianson, chair of the Special Areas board says they were surprised to learn they had been selected.
"There has been a lot of interest in wind power, and solar power, for this area. With so many projects bidding, we were certainly surprised that one of ours was chosen," said Christianson. "It is exciting having the investment opportunity for the area."
He expects the Special Areas board will be meeting with representatives from EDP Renewables in the near future.
"I would expect we will be meeting with them and walk through this whole process. Part of what has been done all along has been community engagement. That has been ongoing ant it is helping the people understand the project,"
'With projects of this scale, we know there will be challenges," said Christianson.
In southwest Alberta, Enel Green Power North America Inc., will build two projects; the 115-megawatt Riverview Wind Farm and the 31-megawatt Phase 2 of the Castle Rock Ridge Wind Power plant near Pincher Creek.
"This award is a major milestone for our company. We are thrilled to be investing once again in the Canadian energy economy and to continue our growth here in Alberta. We have experienced unprecedented development in North America over the last years and this award is yet another example of our success and global competitiveness," said Antonio Cammisecra, CEO of Enel Green Power.
The weighted average price of the successful bids is 3.7 cents per kilowatt hour, setting the record for the lowest renewable electricity pricing in Canada.  Ontario's 2016 procurement had a weighted average price of 8.5 cents per kilowatt hour.
"These prices are beyond expectations, highlighting the strong potential of renewable power in Alberta, the quality of the competitive process and the positive view that investors have of our province. This is a win for power generators, a win for the environment, and a win for Albertans,' said Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy.
The Renewable Electricity Program will support the development of 5,000 megawatts of renewable electricity capacity in order to reach the target of 30 percent renewable energy by 2030. By that time, the program is expected to attract at least $10 billion of investment into the Alberta economy.
Binnu Jeyakumar, program director of electricity for the Pembina Institute issued a statement following the announcement.
"This auction has blown old renewable energy myths out of the water. Renewables are cheap, clean, and scalable, and it's a smart and responsible choice to increase their deployment in Alberta," said Jeyakumar. "Alberta's first competitive procurement process for renewables show that they are the most economic source of electricity for the province moving forward. At 3.7 cents per kWh, these prices are cheaper than a new gas plant - even with the current all-time low gas prices. These are also the cheapest contracts for renewables in Canadian history."

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