• Lorna Hamilton

Grizzly Bear Creek Wind Power Project


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The Grizzly Bear Creek Wind Power Project which has been in development for several years is slated to begin construction in late 2021 and be operational by the end of 2022. The current locations for the project are in the Counties of Vermilion River and Minburn. The Project, as it is referred to, was originally owned and developed by E. ON Climate and Renewables Canada until it was acquired by Enel Green Power (EGP) in 2019.

In May 2016, The Project was fully permitted by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) while under the ownership of E. ON Climate and Renewables Canada. At that time the specifications were for 50 - 2.4 MW wind turbines with a total capacity of 120 MW, but under the current development of EGP, amendments to the project layout proposes to increase the overall project capacity.

“The project received a permit from the Alberta Utilities Commission after an extensive public consultation process. An amendment is required to update the permit for new technology, and we are pursuing county permits as well,” stated Ryan O’Connor, senior business development manager at Enel Green Power.

According to a January 2021 newsletter released by EGP the increase in capacity can be achieved with a reduction in the number of wind turbines. In 2016 the turbine listed to be used by E.ON was the Nordex N117/2400 with 50 turbines to be used with a total project maximum output to the Alberta Grid of 120 MW. Under the EGP proposed 2021 layout the company has six turbine models under consideration with a maximum of 36 turbines in the layout for a total project maximum output to the Alberta Grid of 154 MW. With the reduction of turbine numbers to up to 36 it will reduce the length of access roads and the electrical collection system.

The Project will also have three meteorological towers and a substation. The turbines will be connected through collector lines that will connect at the substation. It also states that the Project will require temporary laydown areas during construction, and all amendments to the layout will be submitted to AUC for approval.

During the process of approval for construction EGP has also taken into consideration environmental and cultural impacts and have been conducting ongoing assessment and studies to ensure minimal effects.

The company is doing environmental studies including but not limited to impacts on wildlife, vegetation, water and soils and have undertaken mitigation planning to identify and minimize potential impacts. They have or are currently doing Noise Impact Assessments, Shadow Flicker Assessments and Visual Stimulation Assessments.

Enel Green Power prides itself in creating shared value across the communities in which their projects are developed and is excited for the economic growth the project will provide.

”Enel Green Power is excited to bring new jobs and economic growth to the counties of Minburn and Vermilion. The Grizzly Bear Creek wind project will help diversify Alberta’s economy and contribute to a sustainable recovery for the benefit of local landowners and the community at large. With nearly a decade of experience operating wind projects in southern Alberta, we are actively developing relationships with community partners in the east-central part of the province. For example, as part of our COVID-19 relief efforts, we recently provided financial support to the Vegreville Food Bank. Enel looks forward to a long-term partnership with this community in the spirit of transparency and shared value. We look forward to facilitating an open house to engage with local vendors and suppliers on construction opportunities for the project,” said O’Connor.

For more information on the project, please visit the project website: www.enelgreenpower.com/grizzly-bear-creek-wind-project

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