Elec­tric with en­ergy Hazlet con­nects wind tur­bine to rink

Regina Leader-Post - - Road To Prosperity - By Neil Pet­rich L-P Spe­cialty Prod­ucts

A vil­lage in south­west Saskatchewan is tak­ing a unique ap­proach to op­er­at­ing its com­mu­nity rink, by us­ing a wind tur­bine to power the so­cial and sport­ing hub of Hazlet. Town of­fi­cials hope the al­ter­na­tive en­ergy will off­set the costs of their new ice plant and and rink — and help the com­mu­nity of close to 300 makes its mark on the map.

“The me­dia at­ten­tion has been crazy,” said Lind­say Al­liban, eco­nomic devel­op­ment of­fi­cer for Hazlet and the sur­round­ing area. “It feels like I’ve told the same story too many times, but it’s great to bring at­ten­tion to our ac­tive and ex­cit­ing com­mu­nity.”

“We like the recog­ni­tion and peo­ple are start­ing to no­tice that we’ve got a lot of things go­ing on here.”

Al­liban cred­its Hazlet high school prin­ci­pal Kristy Slet­ten with propos­ing the idea to vil­lage ad­min­is­tra­tion. “She rec­og­nized that our rink needed to be more sus­tain­able,” Al­liban said. “We had nat­u­ral ice on our skat­ing rink so when the weather was re­ally warm we didn’t have ice, this meant the skat­ing sea­son was get­ting shorter and shorter.”

“Slet­ten thought in­stalling a wind tur­bine would off­set the cost of an ar­ti­fi­cial ice plant and give us an ex­tra month of op­er­a­tion in the win­ter and an­other in spring.”

Mayor Terry Bai­ley said he’s glad to see an ice plant in­stalled af­ter more than 20 years of us­ing nat­u­ral ice for hockey. “If we weren’t able to off­set the power costs with a wind a tur­bine then we wouldn’t be able to have the ar­ti­fi­cial ice, which in turn al­lows us to have a lot more events in the arena,” said Bai­ley. “This project makes the rink more sus­tain­able and in way makes the vil­lage more sus­tain­able.”

The im­pres­sive un­der­tak­ing started in early 2009, when Slet­ten wrote the pro­posal for the grant and sub­mit­ted it to the fed­eral govern­ment’s Recre­ational In­fra­struc­ture Canada (RInC.) The grant was con­firmed in Oc­to­ber 2009. That fol­low­ing De­cem­ber, Hazlet re­ceived a $704,000 grant from RInC for a new ice plant, a new ce­ment sur­face and the wind tur­bine for the rink. Hazlet also re­ceived $35,000 through the prov­ince’s Net Metering Re­bate Pro­gram of­fered through the Saskatchewan Re­search Coun­cil (SRC). The pro­gram pays 35 per cent of the cost for the equip­ment, up to $100,000, with 10 per cent com­ing from SaskPower and 25 per cent from the Saskatchewan Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment.

SaskPower was also on hand to help with the wind tur­bine. “We pro­vide cus­tomers with a road map of how to go through this process,” said Ian Loughran, Leader for DSM Re­new­able En­ergy Pro­grams, SaskPower En­er­ac­tion. “On­line we have sam­ples of a filled-out ap­pli­ca­tion and a sam­ple of some of the doc­u­ments needed to pro­ceed.”

“Hazlet, how­ever, didn’t have that road map, they kind of had to stum­ble through the set-up, so now when­ever SaskPower finds out about these projects we help by show­ing how to con­nect the dots, so to speak.”

Loughran said cus­tomers can ben­e­fit from the Net Metering Pro- gram en­vi­ron­men­tally and eco­nom­i­cally. “In most cases, you are off­set­ting the en­ergy load, of say a rink or farm, so you’re not cre­at­ing cred­its. It’s dur­ing the slow months that you start get­ting cred­its.”

“In the case of Hazlet, dur­ing the spring, - when there’s less ac­tiv­ity at the rink, - they can start mak­ing cred­its be­cause they’re us­ing less of an en­ergy load.”

Be­sides fig­ur­ing out the lo­gis­tics in­volved in erect­ing a wind tur­bine, the town also had to deal with dig­ging up the frozen ground in win­ter weather. “We’re largely an agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity so we don’t re­ally have any ex­perts when it comes to putting up a wind tur­bine,” he said. “Thank­fully we found plenty of peo­ple will­ing to help us.”

Bai­ley ex­tended his thanks to J&J Air Con­di­tion­ing and Re­frig­er­a­tion who made the trip from North Bat­tle­ford to as­sist with the ice plant and Na­tional Crane in Regina helped erect the 85-foot wind tur­bine. “Barry White, with Western Recre­ation, trav­elled from Red Deer, AB to help with lo­gis­tics,” said Bai­ley. “We pro­vided the labour and he pro­vided the ex­per­tise. We ended up us­ing about 5000 man-hours of vol­un­teer work.”

Dy­nasty Oil­field Ser­vices, a lo­cal busi­ness, com­mit­ted end­less hours of work to the project, said Al­liban. “They were in­volved from the be­gin­ning to the end, with­out them this project would not have hap­pened.”

“None of us in town re­ally knew any­thing about wind power and how you hook it up to a rink so fig- ur­ing that was a chal­lenge,” said Al­liban, who added the vil­lage had per­son­nel come from the Cen­ten­nial Wind Power Fa­cil­ity and Wilf’s Oil­field Ser­vices, both from Swift Cur­rent to as­sist with the in­stal­la­tion of the unit.

“Usu­ally when I men­tion Hazlet, the first thing peo­ple ask is ‘Where is that?’ so the tur­bine has kind of put us on the map,” said Al­liban. “We’re the first ones to do some­thing like this in Saskatchewan, maybe even in Canada. We’re hop­ing it will at­tract hockey play­ers and curlers from Europe who might be in­ter­ested in the in­ter­na­tional pro­gram we run at our school.” For now, the town is fo­cused on mak­ing the sure the rink runs smoothly but Al­liban hinted they might take a look into so­lar power in the fu­ture. “It’s kind of been a mas­sive project so we might want to take a break for a minute but we’re al­ways look­ing for cre­ative so­lu­tions to com­mon prob­lems.”

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