Wind Power – Facilities
In this decision, the AUC approved the applications from Enerfin Energy Company of Canada Inc. (“Enerfin”) for permission to construct and operate the 122.32-megawatt (“MW”) Winnifred Wind Power Plant (the “Power Plant”) and a collector substation designated as the Holsom 1054S Substation (collectively, the “Project”).
The Power Plant will consist of 22 Enercon 5.56-MW wind turbines with a hub height of 114 meters and a rotor diameter of 160 meters. The Power Plant will also include access roads, an underground collector system, an operations and maintenance building, and a permanent meteorological tower.
The Project will be constructed on approximately 7,440 acres of privately owned land, approximately 5.5 kilometers north of Whitla in the counties of Forty Mile and Cypress.
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.
Enerfin’s shadow flicker assessment considered the Project’s potential effects at 21 dwellings. The AUC accepted the assessment’s conclusion that there would be minimal potential for shadow flicker effects on all receptors.
Alberta Environment and Parks (“AEP”) report concluded that the project was sited to avoid known wildlife features, but assessed the risk to raptor nests, sharp-tailed grouse leks, and burrowing owl dens as high due to outdated surveys. Enerfin stated that it intends to update its raptor nest, sharp-tailed grouse lek, and burrowing owl surveys during the next survey season (spring of 2022) and confirmed that it would submit an updated environmental protection plan incorporating additional mitigations. The AUC imposed, as a condition of approval, that Enerfin either submits an updated environmental protection plan to the AUC that incorporates any additional mitigations proposed as a result of the new surveys, or provide confirmation that no new wildlife features were identified by the new surveys and no additional mitigation is required. Enerfin is required to provide this information no later than 60 days before the scheduled start of construction.
As a further condition of approval, the AUC required Enerfin to submit 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.
Pursuant to sections 11, 14, 15 and 19 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act, the AUC approved the applications to construct and operate the Power Plant and substation.