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Electric vehicle charging and solar power project proposed for Red Deer County

Projected would be located just west of Highway 2 nearJunction 42 truck stop

A proposed two-megawatt solar power and electric vehicle charging complex near Penhold will go before Red Deer County next week.

Alberta-based Ion Charge Corp. is behind the cutting edge project, which would also include a data processing centre and electric storage system, which would be built on a 20-acre site east of Penhold and just south of the county’s Junction 42 truck stop development.

Red Deer County Council is holding a public hearing on Tuesday for Ion’s application to rezone the site from agriculture to business service industrial. Second and third readings are expected to follow.

The solar farm will have about 3,500 photovoltaic panels and the charging station will have space for six vehicles. Ultra-fast charging technology can charge vehicles in five to 20 minutes, says the company.

Ion says the project represents a significant investment in the county and is expected to draw more highway visitors. Two to three permanent jobs will be created.

Ion is building a network of stand-alone electric vehicle charging stations across Canada and the U.S.

The county has received one letter of concern about Ion’s project. A landowner said the solar farm will be unsightly, destroy habitats and good farmland and would be better off being located near Junction 42 on the north side of Highway 42.

Citytrend, an urban planning consulting company hired by Ion, responded that the project is the first in an area that is slated for industrial development. Efforts will be made to reduce the footprint and environmental impact of the facilities and the vegetation below the panels will remain, which would not happen if an industrial building was put on the site.

Traffic is expected to be minimal with only about 13 trips a day at first, although that number is expected to go up over time.

Red Deer County has begun to see more solar power project proposals.

A 20-megawatt solar power project next to the Red Deer Regional Airport was approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission in July.

Saturn Power Inc., an Ontario-based renewable energy developer, is behind the project that would be constructed at the north end of the airport on land co-owned by the airport, Red Deer County and a private property owner.

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