By Jamie Rieger
Concerns about a proposed wind energy project for the Winnifred area have arisen following a recent open house in Bow Island that mapped out the project for the public.
Winnifred resident, Eric Musekamp questioned the placement of some turbines being too close to the hamlet, and Lucas Reindler, project development manager for RES (Renewable Energy Systems) said plans are being made to revise the layout of the prject.
“We did speak with a few concerned people from Winnifred at our last open house. We heard their concerns and are plans are to revise our layout in the proximity to
Winnifred,” said Reindler in a written statement, adding that the project layout is available for viewing on the RES website. “If you didn’t know, project layout, info from the last open house, and photo simulations are all available on our website.”
Musekamp also questioned turbines being placed on prime, irrigated land, but Reindler said that only one turbine would be placed on pivot land and RES has obtained the necessary approvals from the landowner.
“With regards to the irrigated land concern, I can tell you we don’t have any pivot lands under agreement near Winnifred. I do believe we have one quarter of pivot land in the southern portion of the project, but even there the landowner says he will ‘windshield wiper’ the quarter, so I think it is not accurate to say we are affecting any of the irrigation land,” said Reindler.
Musekamp also questioned the flight path of migratory birds, something that was studied when RES completed its environment impact studies.
“With regards to migratory birds, we have been consulting closely with Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) for over a year on reviewing our field survey data and
designing the project according to best practice to minimize impact to birds. Ultimately, the project design will require their approval as experts on wildlife,” he said.