May 26th, 2024

Company behind Cypress Wind Farm seeks approval for a second play

By MEDICINE HAT NEWS on December 7, 2021.

A map shows the location of the Cypress Wind farm (in pink) being built between Medicine Hat and the Cypress Hills. The owner, EDF Renewables North America, has asked provincial utilities regulators to approve the similarly size "Bull Trail" wind farm directly to the east across Highway 41.--Supplied image

The company building a major wind farm between Dunmore and the Cypress Hills has formally applied to build another nearby.

EDF Renewables North America hopes to begin construction of the new Bull Trail wind farm south of Irvine late next year, right around the time commissioning of the EDF Cypress wind farm is completed on the other side of Highway 41.

The Canadian subsidiary of the France-based global utility company applied to the Alberta Utilities Commission on Nov. 24 with a stated schedule of completing it in late 2023, pending approval.

Mark Gallagher, senior manager of large renewable projects in EDF’s Montreal office, told the News on Monday the company is familiar with weather patterns, land owners and processes in southeast Alberta.

“There are some efficiencies having the projects close together, for operation and maintenance for instance,” said Gallagher. “We typically own and operate projects after construction so that makes sense for us. We also know the area very well now … and see ourselves as committed to continued investment in this area.”

The construction budget for Bull Trail hasn’t been released, but the estimate for the slightly smaller Cypress Wind facility was C$250 million in 2019. The combined budgets of the two would easily top C$500 million.

Bull Trail consist of 51 towers and turbines that could cumulatively produce 270 megawatts of power in peak conditions. An underground collector system would be installed, along with roads and a project specific substation and connection to nearby AltaLink transmission lines.

The company first approached land owners in the area in 2018, and have since installed five weather towers. Two more could be added.

It would be built on either side of Highway 515, south of Irvine, near the junction with Highway 41.

That is east of the company’s Cypress Wind farm, northwest of the intersection on Highway 151 and Township Road 100, about 10 kilometres north of the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park boundary.

That project was awarded a supply contract through the province’s 2018 renewable energy program auction for 200 megawatts of power supplied in the 4 cent-per-kilowatt price range.

Eventually, the company selected higher-capacity turbines that will add a portion of production to be sold on a merchant basis to the power grid.

It appears the Bull Trail project would employ the same Siemens-Gamesa turbines upon towers 120 metres in height at the hub of the rotor.

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