May 26th, 2024

A third major wind project proposed for Cypress County

By COLLIN GALLANT on April 14, 2022.

The Buffalo Trail wind farm would be laid in an 'S' shape in between two other wind farms in Cypress County.--SUPPLIED IMAGE

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

Another major wind farm proposal would see turbines erected from the edge of Dunmore to the sites of two more going up between the Cypress County hamlet and the Cypress Hills.

The Buffalo Trail wind farm proposal would see at total of 65 turbine towers erected in two phases, each capable of producing about 200 megawatts of power in peak conditions.

The “S” configuration would see it laid out between two other similarly sized proposals between the Trans-Canada Highway and secondary Highway 515.

It was officially submitted to the Alberta Utilities Commission on Monday, and is now subject to a round of public feedback until May 5, at which point the AUC could approve the project or schedule hearings.

The developer, Engie, has 22 major facilities including eight in Vancouver Island, Ontario and New Brunswick, along with others in North and South Dakota, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma.

It applied to connect the project to the Alberta power grid in early 2019, and that is now being considered separately by the Alberta Electric System Operator.

It joins an influx of wind farm activity in the southeast, including construction of two projects in the northeast of Cypress County.

Nearer Medicine Hat, the “Cypress Wind” farm is being built by multi-national power firm EDF on the west side along Highway 41. The same company is proposing the “Bull Trail” wind farm, to the west of Highway 41, south of Irvine, and wants to begin construction next year.

“Buffalo Trail” would essentially be built between those, but also stretch as far west as Range Road 51 south of Dunmore, also known as the Eagle Butte Trail.

At a county development hearing last month related to “Bull Trail,” administrators had to stress to those speaking to keep those three projects separated in their arguments.

Opponents called for the county to reject proposed zoning changes to the allow a renewable energy facility, stating the natural vistas and their enjoyment of the area would be ruined.

Agents for the company and the largest landowner involved in surface lease agreements said the project was viable and a way for the area to benefit from development and gain a large taxpayer.

Council approved the change.

The Buffalo Trail power system would span thousands of acres, including an underground collector network, but only take about 100 or more out of crop production. Each phase would require a new substation that would connect to existing power lines.

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