Nine new solar projects, most of them in Indigenous communities, will add 163 megawatts of generating capacity and 48 MW of battery storage to Alberta’s electricity supply following a C$160-million grant announced last week by federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.
The projects range in size from five to 65 MW, PV-Tech reports. Funding comes from the popular Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways (SREPs) program, a federal investment initiative that needed a $3-billion replenishment in this year’s federal budget to respond to a surge in local interest.
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The projects include:
• A 65-MW solar farm in Vulcan County;
• A 29.5-MW bi-facial solar plant in Cardston County;
• Two 25-MW developments, the Michichi Solar and Kneehill Solar projects, led by Sawridge First Nation and Capstone Infrastructure Corporation;
• A 14-MW solar project with 2.9 MW/8.3 megawatt-hours of battery energy storage, under a partnership between Cold Lake First Nations and the Chappice Lake Limited Partnership;
• Three 15-MW/34-MWh battery systems on existing solar sites, under three joint ventures between the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and Concord Green Energy;
• A 4.9-MW solar project in Métis Nation Region 3 developed by the Métis Nation Power Authority (MNPA).
In a media release, Natural Resources Canada said the projects will create more than 3,000 job years of employment and reduce annual emissions by more than 150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide or equivalent. “By working with Indigenous partners and industry, the Government of Canada is helping to unlock the economic potential of our clean technologies as we advance toward a prosperous net-zero future,” Wilkinson said.
“The funding received for the Michichi and Kneehill Solar farms from NRCan’s SREPs Program was instrumental in accelerating these projects to construction,” said Capstone CEO David Eva. “We’re proud to be delivering emissions-free energy to more than 12,000 Albertan homes, creating jobs in Alberta, and generating income for local municipalities and our Indigenous partner for decades to come.”
“As an Indigenous-controlled solar power company, MNPA is excited to work alongside the government to provide renewable energy in a way that is meaningful and empowering to stewards of the land,” said Métis Nation Power Authority CEO Kurt Vouri. “We are encouraged that this partnership will promote harmony, legacy, and collaboration between Indigenous communities, farming families, and Alberta’s ever-evolving energy industry.”