AUC rejects Paintearth County group’s late submissions to hearing

Battle River Group fights proposed wind turbine farm near Halkirk

By Lisa Joy Stettler Independent

The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) denied the Battle River Group’s (BRG) request to file more information in their fight against Capital Power’s proposed Halkirk 2 Wind Turbine project.

The group wanted to file two late submissions in response to Capital Power’s amended filing in January to its proposed routing for the collector system after some participating landowners withdrew their support of the project. The AUC accepted the information earlier in March but last week ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to establish that Capital Power’s amendment would affect the BRG members’ rights.

Jim Law, AUC’s External Relations director said it’s not unusual for the AUC to consider late submissions to hearings. A hearing was held Nov. 21-23, 2017, in Red Deer.

The two late submissions related to: 1) an airstrip owned by Gerard Donna Fetaz; 2) A request from Joseph and Sara Felzien and Stacy and Trisha Fuller who wanted to participate in the hearing’s proceedings as landowners now opposed to the proposed project.

The Felziens said they weren’t consulted by Capital Power about the relocation of the underground lines to the Paintearth County Road allowance and didn’t approve the lines to be put in the ditch along their property. The Fullers said they weren’t asked if they had any concerns with the proposed route of the collector lines on the road allowance.

A group of about 37 landowners, who call themselves the BRG, presented a petition with 312 signatures to Paintearth County on Dec. 5 asking the county to make the wind turbine setbacks 1.5 km from homes instead of the proposed 500 metres. Paintearth County, during a meeting in January, rejected the BRG’s petition on grounds that it violated the Municipal Government Act that prohibits petitions for new bylaws or against existing bylaws.

Paintearth County’s Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) hearing in December was adjourned until April 23 after Capital Power’s lawyer requested an adjournment to allow the AUC to finish its regulatory review process.

Alberta Environment has already approved Capital Power’s Halkirk 2 project, which proposes 74 wind turbine generators, a collector system and a substation five miles north of Halkirk. If the project is approved it’s expected to be in operation by 2019 and would generate 148 megawatts, meeting the needs of about 500,000 Alberta homes every year. There are already 83 turbines at the Halkirk Wind Farm. Capital Power aims to meet increased power needs that will arise from the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan that plans to end coal-fired electricity generation facilities by 2030.

The AUC is expected to make their decision on Capital Power’s application for a substation soon.

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