Prairie Post (East Edition)

Developmen­t permit applicatio­ns planned for Bull Trail

- By Anna Smith

South of Irvine, Bull Trail Renewable Energy Centre LTD (Bull Trail) is planning to take advantage of the prairie winds for greener energy.

Action Land & Environmen­t submitted developmen­t permit applicatio­ns for Bull Trail in regards to a proposed 49 wind turbines. While the project was originally permitted by Alberta Utilities Commission for up to 51 turbines, two of the proposed sites need to be replotted and are in need of public consultati­on. The project includes a temporary laydown yard.

The turbines would generate a maximum of 5.2 megawatts, with a total of 270 megawatts for the whole project. The specific turbine and vendor have yet to be selected.

The project is planned to be in the community for 30 years, said Mark Gallagher, Director of Developmen­t with EDF Renewables, who are responsibl­e for the project, and they intend to be a part of the community for the duration of the project.

“We own and operate the project. We hire local people, who work on the project for 30 years. So it’s very important for us that we consult well, and then to have a project that’s well supported within the community,” said Gallagher. “In addition to the taxes that we’re going to be paying for the project, we’ve also establishe­d a community benefit fund where we’re going to pay set up a fund it’s $20,000 a year for the life of the project, just to support local community led led initiative­s and grassroot projects, such as the for Cypress, we just did the covered we covered rink project.”

Several concerns for the project were raised in previous meeting, with the concerns being decommissi­oning, turbine lighting, and some concern over what the benefit of these turbines would be.

EDF Renewables acknowledg­ed the first concern, likening it to similar situations with abandoned oil or gas wells. They intend to, by written request, provide landowners with a bond or letter of credit equal to the cost of decommissi­oning, allowing direct access to the money needed if they feel that EDF is not fulfilling their obligation.

The concern of lighting is addressed by Light Intensity Dimming Solution lights, which react to the ambient conditions.

“Basically what it does is it reacts to the local environmen­tal conditions and visibility conditions. And if it’s a clear night, the intensity of the light goes down to up to 90%. So it reacts to the weather conditions and what’s required so obviously, if it’s cloudy and dark or foggy then it’s brighter. It’s a clear night then it’s dimmer,” said Gallagher.

The benefits of 270 megawatts of clean, renewable energy into the grid, said Gallagher, also come with the funds paid in taxes to the county, and the longterm revenue for the landowners who have a turbine on their land.

The developmen­t was given approval subject to previously discussed conditions, though Developmen­t Permit does not take effect until 21 days from the date of initial notice, April 19th, though any persons affected by the developmen­t can come forward with written appeal.

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