One of Alberta’s major energy transportation companies has officially opened a new 10.5-megawatt solar facility in southern Alberta, after work started in 2017.
Alberta Solar One is a $20-million project located near the village of Burdett, made possible through a partnership between Enbridge and Morgan Solar.
“It will produce the equivalent energy needs of about 3,000 homes, and it will offset emissions equivalent to about 12,000 tonnes of carbon (per year),” said technical manager of commercial development Lauren Andre.
But the energy won’t be used to power homes — Enbridge will be using the power generated through Alberta Solar One to offset its pipeline projects.
“Since we have significant pipeline operations in the province, we obviously consume quite a bit of energy, and so the energy that’s produced from this facility is offsetting a portion of that power load with clean, renewable, emission free energy,” Andre explained.
Peter Casurella, executive director of the Southgrow regional initiative, says they have been pushing for more renewable energy in southern Alberta since 2007.
“Everybody in the world who works renewable energy know southern Alberta is a good destination for investments. We have all the natural advantages, we’ve got very, very high solar potential.”
Casurella said an influx of solar projects such as Alberta Solar One is good news.
“There’s over $2 billion worth of projects being built right now in our area,” he said. “That $2 billion is for (approximately) a dozen projects, and there’s another hundred being applied for.”
Casurella added going solar is a benefit to municipalities that have been dealing with government cut-backs and abandonment of taxation by oil and gas companies.
“All of our rural municipalities are dealing with huge revenue shortfalls right now,” he said. “This is a very timely set of investments that are replacing that lost revenue.”
As for Enbridge, it plans to use this recent project as a stepping stone to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, and plan on expanding its operations.
“We have two small solar projects in the United States, there’s one in New Jersey and one in Pennsylvania,” Andre explained.
“Those projects are directly connected to gas-compressor stations. We’re looking at doing more of these types of projects along our crude pipeline and gas pipeline operations as well.”