Facilities – Solar Plant
In this decision, the AUC approved an application from Elemental Energy Renewables Inc. (“Elemental Energy”) to alter the Chappice Lake Solar Project (the “Project”) by adding a 3.6-megawatt/10-megawatt hour battery for energy storage. Elemental Energy also finalized its selection of solar panels, racking system and inverter/transformer station. The 15-megawatt solar power plant, designated as the Chappice Lake Solar Project (the “Project”), located in the area of Bowmanton, Alberta, had been approved by the AUC in Decision 25451-D01-2021.
In support of the addition of the 3.6-megawatt/10-megawatt hour vanadium flow battery to the Project, Elemental Energy stated that the battery would help provide renewable electricity, avoid renewable power curtailment, and time-shift electricity production to discharge at times of peak demand. The export capability would remain unchanged at the approved rating of 15-megawatts.
Elemental Energy confirmed that it had selected 47,320 Longi Solar’s LR4-72HBD-440 and LR4-72HBD-445 solar panels and finalized its inverter and transformer selections. The racking design was revised to a single-axis-tracking system.
The AUC found the approval of the Project to be in the public interest.
The AUC found that application requirements specified in Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations and Hydro Developments, and the noise impact assessment requirements of Rule 012: Noise Control had been met.
Alberta Environment and Parks (“AEP”) submitted that it had no new concerns related to wildlife and wildlife habitat disturbance as a result of the applied for changes. As the battery would be contained in a steel shipping container, and because the addition of the battery and final Project layout components would not expand the final Project boundary beyond what had been approved, the AUC found that the Project would have minimal environmental effects.
In accordance with Rule 033: Post-Approval Monitoring Requirements of Wind and Solar Power Plants, as a condition to the approval, the AUC required that Elemental Energy submit an annual post-construction monitoring survey report to AEP and the AUC within 13 months of the Project becoming operational, and on or before the same date every subsequent year for which AEP requires a survey pursuant to Subsection 3(3) of Rule 033.
No public safety standards or regulations governing solar glare existed at the time of this application. The AUC accepted the conclusion of the glare impact review provided by GreenCat Renewables Canada that the Project would not be predicted to produce a glare impact at any receptor. The AUC imposed the following as conditions of approval:
(a) Elemental Energy Renewables Inc. shall use a standard anti-reflective coating for the Project’s solar panels.
(b) Elemental Energy Renewables Inc. shall file a report detailing any complaints or concerns it receives or is made aware of regarding solar glare from the Project during its first year of operation, as well as Elemental Energy Renewables Inc.’s response to the complaint. Elemental Energy Renewables Inc. shall file this report no later than 13 months after the Project becomes operational.
As Elemental Energy had satisfied the condition that the final selection of equipment for the Project would not increase the land, noise, or environmental impacts beyond those reflected in its previous application, this condition was removed from Approval 25452-D02-2020.