Approval received for $500M southern Alberta solar power project

Alberta regulators have approved a $500-million solar power project in southern Alberta that its owners say will be the largest in Canada. Some of the 30,000 solar panels that make up the Public Service Company of New Mexico's new 2-megawatt photovoltaic array in Albuquerque, N.M. on April 20, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Susan Montoya Bryan

Provincial regulators have approved a $500-million solar power project in southern Alberta that its developers say will be the largest in Canada.

Privately held Greengate Power Corp. of Calgary says approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission means it can proceed with construction next year of its Travers Solar project, with full commercial operations targeted for 2021.

The electricity facility is to generate as much as 400 megawatts at peak times, enough to supply more than 100,000 homes.

The AUC says in its ruling that no parties opposed construction of the project in Vulcan County, about 120 kilometres southeast of Calgary.

It says it is to utilize 2.5 million photovoltaic solar panels erected on about 1,600 hectares of mainly cultivated cropland.

READ MORE: Alberta town becomes solar-powered net zero community: ‘the math makes total sense’

Watch below: (From June 27, 2019) The Town of Raymond is taking renewable energy to the next level by powering its municipal infrastructure using only solar panels – believed to be a first in Canada. Jasmine Bala reports.

Click to play video: 'Town of Raymond becomes net zero electrically' Town of Raymond becomes net zero electrically
Town of Raymond becomes net zero electrically – Jul 2, 2019

Greengate also developed the 300-MW Blackspring Ridge Wind Project, located about 10 kilometres from the Travers project, which is now owned by French firm EDF EN and Enbridge Inc. of Calgary.

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Greengate CEO Dan Balaban says the solar project is not one of those backed by a long-term guaranteed power price under an auction program developed by the previous Alberta NDP government.

“Our plan is to finance this project on a subsidy-free, market basis,” he said in an interview.

“We’re selling the project into the Alberta power pool and we’ll be realizing whatever pricing there is at the time. Our forecast for pricing on a go-forward basis is based largely on the phase-out of coal-fired electricity (by 2030), continued electrical growth in the province and carbon pricing.”

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