September 24th, 2018

Site work begins at future Whitla Wind Farm

By Collin Gallant on September 13, 2018.

Supplied Photo
A bulldozer works on an access road for the Whitla Wind Farm, south of Bow Island on Monday, Sept. 10. Capital Power has announced that construction ofnthe 58-turbine renewable energy faciltiy is proceeding after final approval from regulators was granted in late August.

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com @CollinGallant

Crews are blading new access roads and ready to put up the site shop at Capital Power’s planned $325-million wind farm south of Bow Island, company officials told the News on Thursday.

The Edmonton-based company received final regulatory approval for the 58-turbine field in late August and is now proceeding with site work that will ramp up to employ up to 200 workers next spring.

“We’ve now got equipment on site,” said Jerry Bellikka, the company’s director of government external relations. “As of Monday we’ve been clearing topsoil for access roads on landowners property to where the towers will be built next year.”

“Next spring we’ll be doing the bulk of the work to put in foundations, hauling in the huge blades and tower sections, and setting up a concrete plant on site.”

The project was approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission on Aug. 30, with conditions to monitor effects of construction and operations on wildlife in the area, east of the Forty Mile Coulee.

Bellikka said meetings with that area elected officials and economic developers shows enthusiasm to get the project going and completed is high.

“It’s been incredibly positive,” he said. “The community has been very supportive and among elected officials and merchants there’s a real buzz — people are excited to see this move ahead.”

Another current focus is build a substantial operations, warehouse and maintenance building — a contract awarded to GVN structures, of Redcliff.

It will be located near a planned substation that will put up to 200 megawatts of power produced from the network of towers and connections on to the provincial grid.

The Whitla Wind Farm was one of four projects awarded long-term supply contracts in the 2017 Alberta renewable energy supply auction. It requires the site to be operational by the end of 2019.

Capital Power is managing the construction internally and has hired Rising Edge Technologies, a North American field electrical installation company that has a base in Calgary and will also complete the roads and substation.

The logistics plan for delivering tower sections and massive blades is being developed by the manufacturer, Vestas, a Danish firm that has manufacturing facilities in about 12 countries.

Components should arrive next spring.

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