Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Welsch Wind Farm open house held in Pincher Creek

Map of Welsch Wind Farm Project (courtesy WWPI)
Christian Davis - An open house was held in Pincher Creek on Tuesday, September 2 regarding the Welsch Wind Farm project. The event was hosted by project partners Stantec and Enercon Canada Inc. AltaLink representatives were also present at the open house. The 69 MW project is being developed by Welsch Wind Power Inc. (WWPI) approximately 13 kilometres (km) northeast of Pincher Creek.  Currently 26 turbine locations have been permitted by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) for the project, but the new proposal is for an amendment for 18 turbines of a larger and more modern design instead.

WWPI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Enercon Canada Inc. Enercon is a German company a main Canadian office in Montreal and and another office in Toronto. The transmission line for the project will be constructed, operated and maintained by AltaLink Management Ltd. and will connect WWPI's approved Welsch Substation to the electric system. AltaLink is regulated by the AUC and must apply to the AUC for approval of its transmission facilities applications.

According to Enercon Project Manager Elizabeth Fennell the revamped project is intended to produce the same overall nominal power. "We are hereby presenting a new layout. The project initially was permitted with 26 turbines, of the e-82 type. Now we are going with bigger machines, E126, E101. They are more powerful, so we have less of them."

Fennell said the wind power industry is facing some challenges. "Alberta right now, it's a bit of a tough market for wind."

According to an advertisement published on this site for the open house, "WWPI is currently preparing an application to amend the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) Approval No. U2014-445 and Permit and Licence No. U2014-446 to take into consideration a revised configuration and a reduced number of wind turbines for the Project. The current draft layout (see graphic) consists of thirteen (13) ENERCON “E-126 EP4” turbines and five (5) “E-101 E2” turbines. WWPI has conducted a Noise Impact Assessment (NIA), Visual Simulation (VF), and Shadow Flicker (SF) with the proposed layout to ensure noise levels and visual impacts remain at or below the limits approved in the current AUC Approval."
The project is to include include adding approximately 10 kilometres of 138 kV transmission line to connect the it to an existing 138 kV transmission line 624L, primarily using existing road allowances. The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) intends to apply to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) for approval of the need for this line in mid-2017,  according to their need overview document for stakeholders.
Enercon Senior Commercial Manager Hassan Shahriar
Enercon Senior Commercial Manager Hassan Shahriar was also on hand to answer questions. "I am actually responsible for overseeing the project. This is my project." He said the open house was intended "To enable people to know what is going on in regards to this project, what are the next steps coming up, and what are our plans. And also get some feedback from everybody."  He also said the newer larger turbines were the way to go.  "Why not use the next generation technology that we already have ?"

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