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Pteragen Canada Inc. Peace Butte Wind Power Project, AUC Decision 26787-D01-2021

Link to Decision Summarized

Facilities – Wind

In this decision, the AUC approved applications from Pteragen Canada Inc. (“Pteragen”) for permission to construct and operate the 122-megawatt (“MW”) Peace Butte Wind Power Plant (the “Power Plant”) and a collector substation designated as the Tothill 219S Substation (collectively, the “Project”). The AUC also approved the application for permission to connect four wind turbines to the distribution system of FortisAlberta Inc. (“FortisAB”) and to AltaLink Management Ltd.’s (“AML”) transmission system.

Applications

In 2013 Pteragen received approvals for the original Peace Butte Wind Power Project. The approvals were rescinded in 2021 as significant time had passed since the approvals were issued, and Pteragen was planning to file a project amendment due to project design and layout revisions.

The Power Plant will be constructed near Medicine Hat and will consist of 22 5.54-MW wind turbines with a hub height of 114 meters and a rotor blade length of 78.3 meters. The Power Plant differs from the power plant applied for in 2013, as the proposed turbines have a larger capability than the originally approved wind turbines, which significantly reduces the number of turbines for the Project from 60 to 22.

AUC Findings

The AUC determined that the applications met the information requirements set out in Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations, Hydro Developments and Gas Utility Pipelines. The AUC was further satisfied that the participant involvement program met the requirements of Rule 007 and that the Power Plant abided by Rule 012: Noise Control.

The shadow flicker assessment indicated that two active dwellings within 1.5 kilometers would receive shadow flicker from the Project. The AUC noted that the shadow flicker assessment used conservative assumptions and did not consider screening from clouds, trees, or other obstacles. The AUC accepted that shadow flicker impacts may be less than predicted for the Project.

Alberta Environment and Parks (“AEP”) ranked the Project an overall moderate risk to wildlife and wildlife habitat. AEP noted that Pteragen sited the majority of its collector lines above ground which differs from the requirements identified in AEP policy. AEP stated that the alternative mitigation proposed by Pteragen reduced but did not eliminate the increased risk, and therefore the specific risk to wildlife and wildlife habitat has been assessed as high.

As mitigation measures, Pteragen proposed to design and construct the above-ground collector lines following the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (“APLIC”) standards. Pteragen further proposed to mark all segments of the above-ground collector lines, including those crossing coulees or wetlands, with bird diverters to minimize the potential for bird collisions. The AUC was satisfied that the Project’s potential effects on wildlife and wildlife habitat will be adequately mitigated with the diligent implementation of the mitigation measures committed to by Pteragen.

As a condition of approval, the AUC required that Pteragen submits a 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 surveys pursuant to Subsection 3(3) of Rule 033: Post-approval Monitoring Requirements for Wind and Solar Power Plants.

AUC Decision

Pursuant to sections 11, 14, 15, 18 and 19 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act, the AUC approved the applications to construct and operate the Power Plant and substation and to connect the four wind turbines to FortisAB’s distribution system.

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