Facilities – Site Selection
Aura Power Renewables Ltd. (“Aura”) applied for approval to construct and operate the 17.5-megawatt (MW) Burdett Solar Project near the hamlet of Burdett in the County of Forty Mile No. 8 (the “Project”). Aura also applied for approval to connect the Project to the FortisAlberta Inc. distribution system and to change the ownership of the Project.
The AUC denied the applications. It determined that the applications were not in the public interest as the Project was sited within 1,000 metres of a named lake and has the potential to create unacceptably high risks to migratory and water birds. The AUC found that the Project, as sited, did not align with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas’ (“AEPA”) Wildlife Directive for Alberta Solar Energy Projects (the “Directive”).
The AUC determined that, due to the siting of the Project in proximity to Yellow Lake (approximately 438 metres from the lake), which does not align with the Directive, the corresponding risk to migratory and water birds from the project was unacceptable. The AUC found that the project resulted in increased environmental risks, that the potential impacts of the project on the environment were unacceptable and that the project was not in the public interest.
As the AUC denied the application on the basis that the project was sited in close proximity to Yellow Lake with the potential to negatively effect migratory and water birds, it found it unnecessary to comment on the other aspects of the application, including glare and noise impacts, and the participant involvement program.