Feds investing in Halkirk wind farm

company has more wind in its sails to install 100 turbines in East-Central Alberta over the next two years after a federal eco-green program announced it was committing an estimated $46 million to the project upon completion.

A Calgary company has more wind in its sails to install 100 turbines in East-Central Alberta over the next two years after a federal eco-green program announced it was committing an estimated $46 million to the project upon completion.

Greengate Power Corp. announced Wednesday that Ottawa will invest in the Halkirk Wind Project through ecoENERGY for Renewable Power.

The renewable energy project developer plans to build Alberta’s largest operating wind energy project on 100 square kilometres of land about 40 km east of Stettler, starting in 2010.

CEO Dan Balaban said Wednesday the announcement is excellent news for the 150-megawatt Halkirk Wind Project because the federal program is coming to an end, plus it’s very competitive.

“Through this investment the Government of Canada is helping to create jobs and stimulate the economy while reducing the cost of clean energy for Albertans,” said Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt in a news release.

The project’s price tag is $350 million. Upon completion, the project will receive $10 per megawatt hour for 10 years from Natural Resources Canada, a total funding commitment of about $46 million.

Construction will take about a year, with a targeted commercial operation date of March 31, 2011. The turbines, about 80 metres tall, will be situated on both sides of Hwy 12 between the small communities of Halkirk and Castor.

A second phase, involving 150 megawatts as well, is also planned. Greengate Power has entered into lease agreements with landowners and secured land. It will be built sometime in the future, adjacent to the first phase.

Balaban said the company is developing a total of nine projects across Alberta, or a total of 1,550 MW of wind projects. When fully done, they will represent about 15 per cent of all power generation in Alberta and a total capital cost of around $4 billion.

The Halkirk is the first and will supply a clean source of electricity for about 50,000 homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 300,000 tonnes a year, equivalent to 60,000 cars.

Income generated by the wind turbines will be passed down to participating landowners through a monthly or annual royalty. The county will receive significant dollars through taxes, he added.

Balaban said about 100 to 200 construction jobs will be created over a one-year period and once the project is done, about five to 10 full-time positions for ongoing operations.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

“We’re expecting to receive our final required approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission by the end of this year or early next,” Balaban said. The next major step is to secure financing, which Balaban expects will be done midway through 2010.

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