Solar Power Plant Approval
SR Scotford Inc (“SR Scotford”) filed an application with the AUC for approval to construct and operate a 58-megawatt solar power plant, designated as the Scotford Solar Power Project (the “Power Plant”). The application did not include the construction and operation of a transmission line, amendments to an existing transmission facility, or amendments to the Scotford industrial system designation (“ISD”) order.
The AUC approved the application for the construction of the Power Plant under ss. 11 and 19 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act.
AUC Rule 012: Noise Control
Historical Resources Act, RSA 2000, c H-9.
AUC Rule 001: Rules of Practice. – s. 7.
Hydro and Electric Energy Act, RSA 2000, c H-16 – ss. 11 and 19.
Alberta Utilities Commission Act, SA 2007, c A-37.2 – s. 17.
Heartland Generation Ltd (“Heartland”), filed a submission in response to the AUC’s notice of application. Heartland noted concerns with the inclusion of the Power Plant into the Scotford ISD order but had no concerns with the Power Plant itself. The AUC was of the view that deciding issues pertaining to the Power Plant’s connection to the Scotford 409S substation and amendment of the existing ISD order is premature.
The AUC found that the Power Plant will not result in a significant effect on the environment and wildlife due to the industrial nature of the project area and SR Scotford’s mitigation measures. Alberta Environment and Parks (“AEP”) assessed the risk to sensitive habitats within valley breaks as high because they are generally considered key wildlife and biodiversity zones. However, the proposed mitigation reduces the risk for important habitats, species, and wildlife features associated with valley break features to low to moderate.
The AUC imposed a condition of approval pursuant to Rule 033: Post-approval Monitoring Requirements for Wind and Solar Power Plants directing SR Scotford to submit an annual post-construction monitoring report to AEP – Fish and Wildlife Stewardship and the AUC, by no later than January 31.
The AUC found that the Power Plant is expected to comply with the no net increase requirement for noise from new facilities in the National Capital Industrial Association boundary.
A solar glare assessment identified four roads, two railways, and the Redwater (Pembina) Heliport as receptors of solar glare from the Power Plant. The AUC found that overall, the Power Plant is not expected to present a significant hazard to drivers, train operators, or pilots near the Power Plant. The AUC imposed as a condition of approval the following in respect of solar glare: (1) SR Scotford shall file a report with the AUC detailing any complaints or concerns it receives or is made aware of regarding solar glare; and (2) anti-reflective coating shall be utilized on the project solar panels.