Three Hills and Drumheller solar facilities launched

Written by ECA Review

Three Hills and Drumheller have each become neighbours to multi-million dollar solar power projects.

Capstone Infrastructure and Natural Resources Canada staged a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tues. July 11 to mark the start of operation for the Michichi solar facility, north of Drumheller and the Kneehill solar facility, north of Three Hills. Capstone owns and operates 29 power facilities in five provinces.

At the ribbon-cutting, held at the Drumheller location, federal Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson announced that Ottawa intends to pump $160 million into seven more Alberta-based solar projects, some of which will involve Indigenous or local community participation.

In a follow-up interview, the minister described Alberta as the most progressive province for securing such partnerships.

That the federal government is interested in these projects is understandable—both facilities received significant federal support from Natural Resources Canada’s Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways program. The Sawridge First Nation, Slave Lake, is an equity partner in the Drumheller and Kneehill projects.

Each facility created 100 jobs during peak construction and is expected to produce 70 FTE job years over its operational life of 30 to 35 years.

The Kneehill location, on 141 acres and with its 62,000 solar panels, is a 25-megawatt facility with the potential to generate approximately 44,000-megawatt hours annually, enough to power about 6,000 average-sized Alberta households.

The Drumheller project, also producing 25 megawatts, sits on 194 acres.

Each $60 million project offsets about 30,000 metric tonnes of CO2 annually and will generate an estimated $8 million in tax revenue to both Starland and Kneehill County over their operational life.

David Nadeau
ECA Review

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