The Alberta Utilities Commission on Dec. 4 approved an application by Suncor Energy Products Inc. to construct and operate the Hand Hills Wind Power Project, to be located approximately six kilometres south of Delia, 22 kilometres southwest of Hanna and 27 kilometres northeast of Drumheller.
The project would consist of:
- 54 General Electric 1.6-100 wind turbines, each rated at 1.62 MW with a total capacity of 80 MW;
- a collector system; and
- the Hand Hills 605S substation.
In December 2012, Suncor filed an application for approval to develop the project. On June 25, 2014, 1712610 Alberta Ltd. (BluEarth) submitted a letter indicating that it currently holds approval from the commission to construct and operate the 78.2-MW Hand Hills wind farmand the associated Highland 572S substation (collectively called the BluEarth project). In its letter, BluEarth indicated that it is neither in support nor against the Suncor application; however, it sought to intervene in the proceeding as the BluEarth project is adjacent to the Suncor project and should the project be approved, both projects would share interconnection infrastructure.
Suncor indicated that before the proposed power plant commences operations, an application would be required from ATCO Electric Ltd. to construct and operate a 240-kV transmission line that would connect the Hand Hills 605S substation to the Mother Mountain 2055S substation. This application is currently before the commission.
Suncor originally indicated that its construction completion date would occur at the end of 2015, but later requested a three-year extension to 2018. It explained that if it were granted approval by the commission, it would take time to secure corporate approval for funding, secure the equipment and construct the project. It also stated that the project could not operate until ATCO Electric had received approval for the interconnection and that ATCO Electric’s application is currently in abeyance and is outside of Suncor’s control.