Buffalo Plains Wind Farm Inc., a subsidiary of ABO Wind AG, applied to Vulcan County to place medium-voltage collector lines in the County road allowance.
With council’s approval, ABO Wind has permission to place underground collector lines along the north side of the undeveloped road allowance butting up to the southeast and southwest quarters of 26-16-21 and above ground along the east side of the southeast quarter of 27-16-21.
An ABO Wind representative told council Oct. 7 that the company has explored all other alternatives, including spending nearly a year attempting to negotiate easements with landowners to place sub-surface cables on their property. ABO could not come to terms with them to use that corridor.
ABO provided sample design drawings of their monopoles, but noted minor variations in the design may still occur depending on the final engineering stages, wrote Anne Erickson, the County’s manager of development services, in a report.
The right-of-ways will be surveyed to identify the boundaries of private land, to ensure no encroachment occurs, she added.
The fee for the licence is $3,750 plus GST per mile per year, and there are approximately two miles of collector line. ABO has requested the fee be deferred until construction begins.
Adjacent landowners were notified of ABO’s application and given 21 days to present any comments or objections, said Erickson.
“We haven’t received anything thus far,” she said.
Some Lomond and area residents are opposed to the project. Signs in and around the village read “value cur communities more than turbines” and “protect our communities – no turbines!”
ABO says the preliminary layout currently has five turbines sited within two kilometres of Lomond, with the closest turbine at roughly 1,100 metres from the village’s limits.
“We will continue to consult closely with all residents in and around the project, including residents in Lomond, regarding the proximity of turbines to the town,” says ABO on its website.
The Buffalo Plains wind farm project would generate around 500 megawatts of power and would be built on 24,000 acres of privately owned farmland near Lomond.
“The area was chosen due to its large open agricultural lands, favourable wind resource, and relatively close access to the bulk transmission system to the north,” reads ABO’s website. “Consultation meetings with the County, landowners and local community also supported the potential for a viable wind project in the area.”
ABO says 83 Siemens Gamesa 6.2-170 turbines would be located within the project area. The turbine has a hub height of 115 metres and a rotor diameter of 170 metres.
The proposed substation would be located in the southwest quarter of 36-16-21, and the substation is planned to connect to a substation located north of Lomond.
ABO plans to construct a 12-15 kilometres high-voltage transmission line to connect the project substation to the Alberta grid.
Existing roads and access points would be used wherever possible, says ABO. About 55 kilometres of new access roads would be built to service turbines.
If the project receives the necessary approvals, ABO Wind anticipates construction to start during the winter of 2021 and the wind farm to start generating power during the winter of 2023.
During the 18 months of construction, ABO says 300 workers would be employed, and that 10-15 permanent, full-time jobs would be created when the wind farm is operating.
While the project is operational, property tax payments will be more than $3 million per year, says ABO.
The proposed wind farm would generate enough power to provide 100,000 homes with clean energy, the company says.
ABO is set to host an online information session on Zoom on Wednesday, Oct. 7, when Buffalo Plains representatives will present the final project details and design, according to the company’s website.
To attend the session, type www.zoom.us/j/5873558723 or dial 1-587-328-1099 – the access code is 5873558723#.