The Alberta Utilities Commission on April 11 approved changes for NaturEner Wild Rose 2 Energy Inc. related to a wind project, including an uprate of that project’s capacity.
The company had a prior approval from the commission to construct and operate the Wild Rose 2 wind power plant in Cypress County, and also to construct and operate the attendant Eagle Butte substation. The Wild Rose 2 project as originally approved consisted of 108 wind turbines, each rated at 1.5 MW, with a total generating capacity of 162 MW. The location of the power plant is in Cypress County, approximately 30 kilometers southeast of the city of Medicine Hat.
In December 2013, the company asked to alter the power plant. NaturEner also requested a one-year extension from Dec. 31, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2016, to complete construction of the power plant and substation.
The proposed alteration to the approved plant consisted of a change of wind turbine model, from the approved Acciona AW-77 1.5-MW model to the Alstom ECO110 3.0-MW model. NaturEner stated that the Acciona turbines are no longer being produced. NaturEner said that approval of the Alstom turbines for the project would result in a reduction in the number of turbines from 108 to 63, a reduction in turbines located on native pasture from 19 to 12, and a reduction in the project area from 8,351 hectares to 7,036 hectares.
NaturEner told the commission that the proposed change in turbine would increase the nameplate rated capacity from 162 MW to 189 MW resulting in an increase in annual energy production.
The proposed change triggered some negative comment, but the commission on April 11 approved the company request, including the construction delay. “The Commission has reviewed the application and has determined that the technical, siting, emissions, environmental and noise aspects of the power plant alteration have been met,” the order said. “NaturEner’s participant involvement program has been conducted and objections and concerns have been addressed.”