Amazon to purchase power from massive southern Alberta solar farm
Project in Vulcan County to produce enough power for 150,000 homes
Amazon announced Wednesday it will purchase power from a massive new solar farm in Alberta, marking the e-commerce giant's second renewable energy investment in Canada.
Construction began in the fall of 2020 on Travers Solar, a $700-million, 465-MW project southeast of Calgary, which its developers say will be the largest solar photovoltaic project in Canada and one of the largest in the world.
Privately held Greengate Power Corp. of Calgary has been working on the project for four years and is expected to have it completed by 2022.
"It'll consist of 1.3 million solar panels spread over more than 3,000 acres (1,215 hectares) of farmland," said Dan Balaban, CEO of Greengate Power. "And it'll produce a sustainable source of energy for more than 150,000 homes."
The reeve of Vulcan County says the project will help diversify Alberta's economy and provide a much needed tax base for the municipality.
"Oil and gas has had some issues in the last few years, and that includes not paying taxes that have been owed to the county," said Jason Schneider. "We're sitting at over $8 million of writeoffs. We have about $3.7 million currently outstanding from oil and gas operators who are struggling."
Amazon, which has signed a deal to buy up to 400 MW of electricity from the project, previously announced plans to purchase power from an 80-MW solar farm in southern Alberta as part of its commitment to being fully powered by renewables by 2030.
Renewable electricity companies have credited Alberta's unregulated electricity market for a recent boom in solar projects in the province.
Other projects include the 300-MW Blackspring Ridge Wind Project, which is now owned by French firm EDF EN and Enbridge Inc. of Calgary, and the proposed 130-MW Claresholm Solar project, a joint venture between Capstone Infrastructure and Obton, a Danish investment company.
- A previous version of this story reported construction on the site began June 23, 2021. Construction began in the fall of 2020.Jun 23, 2021 6:11 PM MT
With files from CBC's Malika Karim