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TransAlta Coaldale Wind Inc. Tempest Wind Power Project, AUC Decision 27767-D01-2023

Link to Decision Summarized

Wind Power – Facilities

Application

TransAlta Coaldale Wind Inc. (“TransAlta”) applied for approval to construct and operate the 99-megawatt (“MW”) Tempest Wind Power Plant and Tempest Substation (the “Project”). TransAlta also applied to connect the facilities to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System (“AIES”). The Project would be located on 7,200 acres of privately owned agricultural land 30 kilometres (“km”) southeast of Lethbridge and is adjacent to another, soon to be operational, project (the 113-MW Stirling Wind Project).

Decision

The AUC approved the applications to construct and operate the Project.

Applicable Legislation

Alberta Utilities Commission Act, SA 2007, c A-37.2 – s 17.

Historical Resources Act, RSA 2000, c H-9.

Hydro and Electric Energy Act, RSA 2000, c H-16 – ss 11, 14 and 15.

Alberta Wildlife Sweep Protocols

AUC Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations, Hydro Developments and Gas Utility Pipelines

AUC Rule 012: Noise Control

AUC Rule 033: Post-approval Monitoring Requirements for Wind and Solar Power Plants

Pertinent Issues

The AUC was satisfied that TransAlta’s participant involvement program for the Project met the information requirements in Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations, Hydro Developments and Gas Utility Pipelines (“Rule 007”).

Alberta Environment and Protected Areas – Fish and Wildlife Stewardship (“AEPA”) ranked the Project’s risk to wetland wildlife and wetland habitat as high. The Project’s overall risk to birds was also classified as high. As a result, the AUC imposed the following condition of approval:

  • When working within wetland setbacks from April 1 to August 14, TransAlta shall ensure that a qualified wildlife biologist conducts nest sweeps in accordance with the Alberta Wildlife Sweep Protocols and provides clearance before construction can begin or continue.

To ensure compliance with Rule 033: Post-approval Monitoring Requirements for Wind and Solar Power Plants (“Rule 033”), the AUC imposed as a condition of approval that:

  • TransAlta submits an annual post-construction monitoring report to AEPA and the AUC by no later than January 31 of the year following the mortality monitoring period and on or before the same date every subsequent year for which AEPA requires a survey pursuant to Rule 033.

At the time of the application, TransAlta had not developed a project-specific emergency response plan. To ensure compliance with s WP13 of Rule 007, the AUC imposed the following condition of approval:

  • Prior to construction, once a site-specific emergency response plan is in place, TransAlta shall engage with local responders and authorities regarding the plan and address comments or concerns as necessary.

The application to connect the Project to the AIES through a 17 to 23-km transmission line at Hillridge 139S Substation would be submitted separately.

The AUC determined that approval of the applications is in the public interest.

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