Solar Power – Facilities
In this decision, the AUC approved the application from 2079816 Alberta Ltd., as general partner of PACE Canada LP, to construct and operate the Hanna Solar Project, a 13-megawatt solar power plant (the “Project”), and to connect the Project to the ATCO Electric Ltd. (“AE”) distribution system.
The Project will be constructed on 120 acres of private land southeast of the town of Hanna, Alberta. The Project consists of an array of solar panels and racking systems, electrical inverters, and pad-mount transformers and further includes access roads, electrical collector systems, distribution interconnection equipment, communications, telecommunications equipment, and other ancillary equipment. The Project is expected to come into service on December 9, 2022.
The AUC determined that the application complied with 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 predicted results for the project’s solar glare were premised upon the use of an anti-reflective coating applied to the project solar panels. The AUC, therefore, imposed the following conditions of approval:
(a) 2079816 Alberta Ltd. shall use an anti-reflective coating on the Project’s solar panels; and
(b) 2079816 Alberta Ltd. must 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, including 2079816 Alberta Ltd.’s response to the complaints or concerns.
Alberta Environment and Parks (“AEP”)’s renewable energy referral report concluded that the project would have an overall low risk to wildlife and wildlife habitat, provided that impacts are effectively mitigated during construction, operation, and decommissioning of the Project. The AUC expressed its expectation that 2079816 Alberta Ltd. will adhere to and implement the mitigation measures contained in its renewable energy project submission report to AEP.
The AUC noted that a stand-alone, project-specific environmental protection plan and the Project’s initial renewable energy operations conservation and reclamation plan were not submitted with the application. Therefore, 2079816 Alberta Ltd. was directed to file a stand-alone, project-specific environmental protection plan and the initial renewable energy operations conservation and reclamation plan no later than one month before construction is scheduled to begin.
2079816 Alberta Ltd. was further directed to file annual post-construction monitoring survey reports in accordance with Rule 033: Post-approval Monitoring Requirements for Wind and Solar Power Plants with AEP and the AUC.
As a final direction, the AUC required 2079816 Alberta Ltd. to file a final Project update once equipment selection and the Project layout are finalized to confirm that the Project has stayed within the final Project update specified allowances for solar power plants.
The AUC determined that approval of the Project is in the public interest, in accordance with s. 17 of the Alberta Utilities Commission Act, having regard to the social, economic, and other effects of the Project, including its effect on the environment.
Pursuant to ss. 11 and 18 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act, the AUC approved the applications to construct and operate the Project and to connect it to the AE distribution system.