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RES Forty Mile Wind GP Corp. Forty Mile Wind Power Project Amendments, AUC Decision 27561-D01-2023

Link to Decision Summarized

Wind Power – Facilities


RES Forty Mile Wind GP Corp. (“RES”) has prior approval to construct and operate a 398.5-megawatt (“MW”) wind power plant designated as the Forty Mile Wind Power Project, including the associated Forty Mile 516S Substation (the “Project”). RES applied to amend the approved Project. The amendments include a change to the turbine model, a reduction in turbine quantity and revisions to access roads, collector lines, and the operations and maintenance building locations. The Forty Mile 516S Substation would also be modified by increasing the transformer rating and by removing one circuit breaker and one disconnect switch. Finally, the power plant will be split into two completion phases, with Phase 1 consisting of 49 proposed turbines and Phase 2 consisting of 21 proposed turbines, to be completed by December 31, 2024 and December 31, 2025, respectively.


The AUC bifurcated its decision on the Project and partially approved the application, excluding from the approval the turbines that raised issues with respect to aviation safety, which the AUC determined required further process. Specifically, approval was granted to construct and operate: (i) certain turbines for the Forty Mile Wind Power Project Phase 1; (ii) Forty Mile Wind Power Project Phase 2; and (iii) the Forty Mile 516S Substation.

Pertinent Issues

Pursuant to its typical practice for amendment applications, the AUC considered only incremental impacts of the amended project to determine if the amendment applications are in the public interest. The AUC, therefore, did not reconsider project approval in its entirety. The exception to this practice was the AUC’s decision to consider the aeronautical safety impacts related to aerodrome use in respect of turbines within five nautical miles of the Bow Island Airport (“Affected Turbines”). The AUC concluded that it required additional evidence regarding certain aviation safety matters before making a final decision on the Affected Turbines. In the interest of regulatory efficiency and RES’ business commitments, the AUC bifurcated the proceeding and considered approval for construction activities associated with turbines located outside five nautical miles of the Bow Island Airport (“Unaffected Turbines”).

In respect to concerns raised by interveners, the AUC determined that many of the negative impacts associated with the amended project are minimal and that they have been adequately addressed through mitigation. Further, the AUC determined that many of the project amendments do not result in any negative incremental impacts and that they largely reduce the negative impacts associated with the approved project.

Specifically, the AUC was satisfied that: (i) the amendments will result in a decrease in sound levels at affected dwellings, as compared to the approved project; (ii) while there will be a small incremental increase in shadow flicker from the amended project, the shadow flicker impacts produced by the Project are likely to be low; and (iii) there may be some minor impacts associated with aerial spraying operations near the turbines part of the amended project but these impacts are low and will be adequately mitigated by the turbine shut-off protocol that RES will be required to implement. The benefits of the amended project include generation of more renewable energy from an approximate 40 percent reduction in wind turbines, thereby reducing the permanent project footprint by almost half.

The AUC found that approval of the Unaffected Turbines, the Forty Mile 516S Substation and the requested time extensions is in the public interest, reserving its final decision related to the remainder of the turbines until the resolution of the additional process.

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