By Justin Seward
The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) provided an updated approvals for amendments to NaturEner Energy Canada Inc., in terms of the 217 MW Wild Rose 1 and the 192 MW Wildrose 2 wind projects on April 12.
The updated AUC approvals approve the use of the Siemens SWT- 113 3.2 Megawatt (MW) wind turbine and extend the completion dates to Dec. 2019 with the requested in-service dates in the Government of Alberta’s 2017 Renewable Energy (REP) in order to competitively produce new renewable energy projects.
NaturEner has recently entered the competitive process and CEO Jose Maria Sanchez said the company feels strongly about their application they submitted for the amendment last year.
“We feel strongly about the robustness and competitiveness of our products,” said Seara. The submission put forward included a 210 megawatt Wildrose Wind Farm that should get attention by the end of year when a successful bid will be announced. “Alberta has really seen a strong energy market,” said Seara. “
Medicine Hat, in the area we have these projects, has a really strong wind resource. Now after the system built transmission line a few years ago it has really good existing,unconstrained access to transmission of energy to market.” Seara said the company feels confident is next phase which is to qualify the project. His company operates three wind projects in Montana that operates at a total capicity of 400- megawatts and can access the Alberta- Montana tie-line between the two areas.
“That’s pretty much the same size of the project we’re developing in Medicine Hat,” said Seara. “In Montana, we used a smaller wind turbine model because we built those projects many years ago and technology has evolved. We have a 1.5 MW turbine and now we have a 3.2 MW turbine and we have the capacity in the transmission line from Great Fall, MT with leverage in Alberta.”
He added that if they are successful contractor that the project will be built before the summer of 2019. Each competition for the REP may include up to three stages and is anticipated to run for seven to 11 months. Round 1 of competition for 400 MW is expected to be launched on April 28 with the contract being awarded in Dec. 2017.
The target commercial operation date for successful projects is set for Dec. 2019. Cypress County’s development officer Pam Pirsch said the current land the project is classified as an A-2 general agriculture and will have to be transferred to an overlay-Wind Energy District from the successful bidder, which will happen in the near future. Additionally a new land use permit will be issued in late 2017 or in 2018. The Wildrose 1 and 2 Wind projects are located on privately held lands in a high quality wind resource region with available transmission capacity southeast of Medicine Hat in Cypress County.