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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Cowley Ridge, Canada’s first wind farm, powering down

Cowley Ridge (C. Davis file photo)
  • 90s era Cowley Ridge turbines to come down
  • May be repowered with new, more efficient technology

TransAlta

After 23 years of electricity generation, the Cowley Ridge wind farm has reached the end of operating life and will be decommissioned. The 16-megawatt, 57-turbine wind farm has been operating since 1993 and still uses first-generation wind technology. The site has already passed its 20-year design lifespan.

TransAlta is reviewing the possibility of repowering the site with new and more efficient technology and looks forward to the start of negotiations with the Alberta government to better understand the province’s long-term plans for adding renewables to the electricity grid and the regulations that will govern the renewables transition.

C. Davis and J. Davis photos

TransAlta’s gross generating electricity capacity is 10,208MW from gas, wind, hydro, solar and coal, which will be phased out by 2030. TransAlta is Canada’s largest wind producer, representing a gross ownership capacity of approximately 1,521MW through wind power assets that it owns in both Canada and the United States.

Cowley Ridge 90s style turbine

Decommissioning Cowley Ridge represents the end of an era and we are extremely grateful for the foresight of Alberta wind pioneers in the 1990s, to the Municipal Districts who were open to the idea of wind generation, and the landowners who took a chance on a new source of energy generation.

Cowley Ridge older turbines March 13, 2016

No investment decisions will be made at this time, but TransAlta will remain in contact with landowners, the Municipalities and other stakeholders while the landscape in electricity generation in Alberta becomes more clear. TransAlta is currently planning for expansion of renewables, including wind, in Alberta as part of our transition to clean power by 2030.


Cowley Ridge’s retirement is planned to take place in two phases. Decommissioning will take place from April-June 2016, followed by site reclamation. TransAlta will work with regulators, government and key stakeholders throughout the two phases.

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