Thursday, 03 November 2016 03:51

TransAlta proposing new wind project near the village of Webb

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TransAlta representatives provided information about the proposed Antelope Coulee wind project during an open house at the community hall in Webb, Oct. 26. TransAlta representatives provided information about the proposed Antelope Coulee wind project during an open house at the community hall in Webb, Oct. 26.

TransAlta Corporation is proposing a new wind project with up to 65 wind turbines on privately-owned lands southwest of Swift Current.

The power generation company hosted a community information open house for the proposed Antelope Coulee wind project at the community hall in the village of Webb, Oct. 26.
According to TransAlta Renewable Developer Marty Scholten, the company has held interest in this project for many years.
“We bid it into a previous request for proposal with SaskPower and we were unfortunately not successful at that time,” he said. “We expect a request for proposal to come out in 2017 and we wish to bid this project in and be successful. ... We have great familiarity with the area and so we feel confident and hopeful that we’ll have a highly competitive bid.”
SaskPower recently announced it intends to increase capacity from renewable generation sources with 50 per cent by 2030. Wind power will be responsible for generating 30 per cent of this renewable energy by 2030. This will require the addition of 1,600 megawatt of wind power projects to the grid between 2019 and 2030
“So that provides a great opportunity for us as a developer and an owner and operator to come in and provide affordable, reliable power,” he said.
TransAlta is therefore readying the Antelope Coulee wind project for SaskPower’s request for qualification, which is expected in December. This will be followed by the request for proposal in early 2017.
“The key for us to be able to build this project is to provide a competitive bid to SaskPower that they choose to offer us a contract,” he said. “Once that happens, then there’s construction planning and permitting and further design work that needs to happen. SaskPower is looking for something before April 2020 and we believe we could meet that time frame, and with a likely 2019 construction year.”
The Antelope Coulee wind project is located in the Rural Municipality of Webb, approximately 35 kilometres southwest of Swift Current.
There will be up to 65 turbines across an area of about 16,000 acres on private land. TransAlta has established a positive relationship with landowners over many years and there are already land agreements in place with 21 landowners.
“Those agreements were refreshed in the past few years,” he said. “We have that agreements over nearly two decades with some landowners.”
The wind towers will be over 80 metres high with a rotor diameter of more than 110 metres. Each turbine will have a generating capacity of between 3.3 and3.8 megawatt and the project's total capacity will be up to 200 megawatt.
Scholten noted the average electricity use in Saskatchewan homes is about 8.3 megawatt hours per year.
“This project at 200 megawatts would produce enough power for over 100,000 homes, potentially up to 120,000 homes,” he said. “One turbine spinning for two and a half hours at full capacity would provide electricity for the average household for one year.”
The project will represent an investment of about $400 million by TransAlta. It will create between 100 and 200 full-time jobs in the area during construction and less than 10 jobs during the operational phase.
Baseline environmental surveys have already been conducted for the project. Most of the lands have been used for crop production or tame grass was planted for livestock grazing.
“The land that we currently have under lease is 83 per cent disturbed, but the land that we will affect or have the potential to affect we mostly have sited off native pasture altogether,” he said. “There is some native pasture and there may be a road or a turbine possibly. We are still at a preliminary layout though as well, but we do aim to stay away from the native pasture.”
If approved the Antelope Coulee wind project will be TransAlta’s first project in Saskatchewan.  The company is Canada's largest producer of wind energy with 22 wind farms that can generate 1,514 megawatts of power. The company have wind farms in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, as well as in the United States in Minnesota and Wyoming.

Read 2395 times Last modified on Thursday, 03 November 2016 10:26
Matthew Liebenberg


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