Halkirk wind power project prepares to start next year

A major wind farm planned in the Halkirk-Castor area by Greengate Power Corporation remains on track to start construction in 2011.

“We are still working very diligently to proceed with the project,” said Dan Balaban, president and chief executive officer.

“We expect to start work on the project in the early half of 2011.”

Greengate plans to kick off the project with a barbecue later in spring and host a job fair for 100 to 200 construction jobs.

“We look forward to building the largest wind-energy farm in Alberta,” said Balaban.

Currently the company is finalizing designs for engineering and financing.

Estimated at $350 million, the project has received $46 million from the federal government.

Upon completion of the 150-megawatt project with about 83 turbines in the Halkirk-Castor area, Greengate will receive $10 per MWh for 10 years from Natural Resources Canada.

Over an area of 50 sections in the County of Paintearth between Halkirk and Castor, the project is divided into two 150 MW phases – Halkirk I and Halkirk II.

Halkirk I wind project is 10 kilometers from a 240kv transmission line with available capacity and Greengate has obtained approval to connect to this transmission line from the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).

This project will be developed on about 60,000 acres of private land, located in a wind swept area of Alberta consisting of flat cultivated land and grazing land.

Based on over two years of meteorological data, the project appears to have an excellent wind resource.

The project is expected to generate upwards of $2.5 million for the County of Paintearth in property tax revenue annually.

“Farmers and landowners will also reap the benefits with a footprint of one to two acres for each turbine,” Balaban said.

“After completion, five to 10 full-time employees with maintain and service the operations,” he added.

Local support for the project has been overwhelming throughout the region with virtually no opposition since Greengate first proposed the wind farm about three years ago.

Towers that convert wind power to electrical energy are prefabricated and can quickly be installed on the project site and each tower could produce between 1.5 and 3 mw of power, enough to meet the demand for up to 750 households.