S. Alta. farmland to host new wind turbines

About 10,000 acres of southern Alberta farmland are expected to be home to a new 100-megawatt wind power project, pending proper financing.

Halifax-based wind energy firm Shear Wind announced Wednesday it has secured a “build-out position” on 10,000 acres of mainly cultivated farmland south of Fort Macleod, in the Blue Trail area between the Peigan and Blood reserves, for what it calls the Willowridge Project.

Shear Wind said the Alberta Electric Supply Operator (AESO) has “confirmed positive conclusions for interconnection” to the province’s power grid, which is deregulated and offers the “ability to take advantage of hourly market pricing.”

The area, with a wind speed averaging over eight metres per second at 80 metres up, offers a “proven wind resource” sited near three existing wind farms.

The company said it will seek combined financing for its Willowridge project and for its Glenridge Project, north of Medicine Hat. That 11,000-acre, 200-MW project is sited east of CFB Suffield, a military research and training base billed by the Department of National Defence as “one of the largest live fire training areas in the western world.”

“Subject to securing our financing, we have every indication that these two projects will be commissioned and generating electricity by the end of 2010 and early 2011,” Shear Wind CEO Mike Magnus said in a company release Wednesday.

The company says it has sites in “various feasibility and development stages” in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan as well as two other potential sites in Alberta, south of Lethbridge on the Milk River Ridge.

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