Facilities – Solar
In this decision, the Alberta Utilities Commission (“AUC”) approved the application from Irrigation Canal Power Co-operative Ltd. (“IRRICAN”) to qualify the 938-kilowatt (“kW”) Fincastle Solar Project (the “Project”) as a community generating unit.
In this application, Elemental Energy Inc., on behalf of IRRICAN, only requested the qualification of the Project as a community generating unit under the Small Scale Generating Unit Regulation. It did not apply for permission to construct or operate the underlying Project.
Construction of the Project with a final output capacity of 938 kW near the town of Taber is scheduled to start in the spring of 2022. FortisAlberta Inc. confirmed that it would be responsible for the metering costs of the Project if the application is approved.
IRRICAN provided a community benefits statement describing the economic, environmental, and social benefits the Project would bring the districts in the area. It indicated the Project would generate approximately $3,625,000 in revenue over its 25-year lifespan, as well as $7,900 in annual property tax revenues for the Municipal District of Taber. The Project would be located on an orphan well surface lease, thereby repurposing unused land.
IRRICAN stated that the Project would comply with the small power plant exemption stipulated in section 18.1 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Regulation and with Rule 012: Noise Control.
Considering the size of the Project, the AUC accepted that the Project is a small power plant within the meaning of subsection 18.1(1) of the Hydro and Electric Energy Regulation. The AUC was also satisfied that the requirements of Rule 012 had been met and, accordingly, determined that the Project is not subject to sections 11 and 18 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act.
The AUC was satisfied that the application satisfied the requirements of the Small Scale Generation Regulation. Pursuant to subsection 5(2)(a) of the Small Scale Generation Regulation, the distribution owner, FortisAlberta Inc., is entitled to recover the costs incurred to purchase the meter for the Project. To ensure compliance with subsection 5(2)(a), the AUC imposed as a condition of approval that IRRICAN must provide the AUC with written confirmation of the actual cost to purchase the meter once the distribution owner has purchased the meter for the community generating unit.
Pursuant to Section 3 of the Small Scale Generation Regulation, the Fincastle Solar Project was designated as a community generating unit.