Greengate Power Corp. has ridden out the economic storms and plans to start construction next year on a $350-million wind power project east of Stettler, said CEO Dan Balaban.
“It’s definitely been a tough year for everyone, including the renewable energy and wind industry.
“We haven’t been scared off as a result of financial conditions,” said Balaban. “It’s just a matter of working through some short-term issues in the general market, which we’ve done.
“I think that we’re definitely seeing signs of significant improvement in the market right now. There is definitely financing available out there for good projects.”
Balaban said the company has advanced financing discussions underway on the 150-megawatt project that would see 100 wind turbines erected on 25,000 acres of private land.
“We have some very advanced financing discussions that are underway right now. We’re quite confident that once we get the final regulatory approval on that project, the financing is something we will be able arrange.”
Wind studies and environmental assessments have been completed on the Halkirk project and a larger Blacksprings project near Lethbridge.
“We are very encouraged by the results we’ve seen on the project to date,” he said. “As of today, we see no real impediments that will see us ultimately obtaining final approvals for (the Halkirk) project, as well as the Blacksprings project.”
The provincial go-ahead is expected by the end of the year or early next year. The application was filed with the Alberta Utilities Commission in March and their detailed reviews have been completed. The deadline for public submissions on the project is the end of this month.
Which of the two projects will be first out of the gate hasn’t been determined.
The company plans to invest almost $4 billion in 10 projects across Alberta. Other wind projects are slated for Radar Hill, southeast of Red Deer, Lacombe, Ponoka, Drumheller and Lethbridge.
Balaban is high on Halkirk’s potential.
“I don’t think Halkirk is just a good project. I think it’s one of the best wind projects in North America.
“The quality of the wind resource in the Halkirk area is world-class,” he said.
Another major advantage is that the transmission lines necessary to hook up the turbines to the provincial grid are already in place. That means the company doesn’t have to wait for provincial investment in power lines at a time when it is a contentious issue.