December 3rd, 2020

Enbridge begins construction on solar project

By Jensen, Randy on October 28, 2020.

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

Enbridge has commenced construction on its new $20-million Alberta Solar One (ABS1) just west of Burdett.

According to a press release supplied by Enbridge the new project is set to begin electrical operations in April 2021. The project will supply a portion of the Canadian Mainline pipeline operations’ power requirements with renewable power, and, once in operation, says Enbridge, the facility will supply the equivalent to the energy needs of about 3,000 homes, offsetting about 12,000 tonnes of carbon annually.

ABS1 was co-developed by Enbridge and Morgan Solar, a solar technology company based in Toronto. In addition to advancing Enbridge’s pipeline greening initiative, the project will also help to commercialize Morgan Solar’s SimbaX technology, says Enbridge. The project is expected to create about 30 local jobs and 80 total jobs during the construction phase.

“Alberta Solar One is a great example of how Enbridge is integrating clean energy solutions throughout our business,” said Enbridge chief sustainability officer Pete Sheffield in a statement released to the media on Thursday. “This is the first of our renewable self-supply projects in Alberta where we’re using solar power to offset the electrical use of our liquids pipeline operations.”

County of Forty Mile reeve Steve Wikkerink says the ABS1 project will be the second solar project in the county to come online in recent years, and will enhance the county’s burgeoning renewable energy profile. Three major wind projects in the county are also in various phases of completion and construction at the moment.

“As these greenable projects come into our county it has been very much a welcome site,” Wikkerink said. “Most of us know oil and gas revenue, and taxation has been going the other way and decreasing. With Enbridge coming in and building this solar farm, it’s just another positive way we can offset some of our tax loss and be part of new technology moving forward. In southern Alberta and the County of Forty Mile we are in a location where we have just about the maximum sunshine of anywhere in the province. It is exciting to see this company here and taking advantage of that.”

Wikkerink said his county has lost about $3 million in revenue from unpaid oil and gas taxes as well as losses from some energy companies which have gone bankrupt or old gas wells have been filled in during the past three years. He says these types of renewable energy projects like ABS1 couldn’t come at a better time for his municipality.

“Most of those (oil and gas) companies are still in operation, but are just choosing not to pay their taxes,” he stated. “And we can’t do anything about it. It’s a huge negative impact, and I think if we, as the current council, did not have a little light at the end of the tunnel with some of this wind and solar energy coming in – boy, we would be in a real tough position.”

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