The County of Paintearth council received an update on the Halkirk 2 Wind project during their Dec. 14, 2021, regular meeting.
Two representatives from Capital Power, Rob Wydaremy and Michael Sheehan, gave the presentation which outlined a brief history of the company, concerns the project had received from the community and proposed changes to the project based on feedback.
Capital Power is an Edmonton-based company that has electrical generation capacity all over North America, though over one-third of it is in Alberta.
The company already operates the Halkirk 1 Wind project which is the field of wind turbines between Castor and Halkirk.
Halkirk 2 Wind is planned to go in north of the of the first site.
The project has met heavy resistance from the landowners in the proposed project area who have cited concerns around noise, insufficient setbacks from homes, agricultural impact, visual impacts, the routing of transmission lines, noise and other concerns.
The updated project presented by Sheehan and Wydaremy appears to show that Capital Power has listened to the concerns.
Turbine numbers have decreased from the 74 originally proposed to “between 25 and 36” depending on which model of turbine is selected for the project, and setbacks have been increased from 750 metres to 1,000 metres to abide by the County of Paintearth Land Use Bylaw.
To avoid having the constant flashing of red aircraft warning lights in the field of turbines at night, the project will use new technology which will detect aircraft and turn on the lights only when in they are in the vicinity.
The project, which has already been accepted by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), will need to be amended and resubmitted due to the changes, which is causing further delays in the construction of the project.
Capital Power is requesting a construction extension, with plans to get the amended application into the AUC by the second quarter of 2022, with construction slated to start sometime in the middle of 2023.
The project is expected to begin commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2024, and is expected to create around 200 temporary jobs during construction and another two-to-five permanent full-time jobs when operational.
Dwayne Felzien, who has been outspoken against the project, presented to council after the representatives from Capital Power finished their presentation, seemingly happy with the changes presented.
“Capital Power has removed all tower locations from the crest of the Paintearth Valley and Battle River Valley,” said Felzien.
“Capital Power has committed to protect all Class 3 and up wetlands. Thank you, Capital Power, for your support of residents in this identification and water security. Capital Power is working to build a better, environmentally acceptable project with community support.”