Calgary

Proposed windfarm gets thumbs down from some Alberta landowners

A hearing is underway to determine whether the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) will approve a major wind farm in Vulcan County; however some residents are opposing the project.

Alberta Utilities Commission holds hearing on Vulcan County project

A wind turbine overshadows a grain elevator in southern Alberta. A hearing is underway to determine whether the Alberta Utilities Commission will approve a major wind farm in Vulcan County. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

A hearing is underway to determine whether the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) will approve a major wind farm in Vulcan County; however some residents are opposing the project.

If approved, the Buffalo Plains Wind Farm would build 83 wind turbines on 17,500 acres of privately-owned farmland near Lomond, Alta., about 175 kilometres southeast of Calgary.

It would be the third major green energy development in the area, and it's hoped it will bring more tax revenue and jobs to area.

According to developer ABO Wind landowners will get royalties, but some residents are still not happy.

'Practically at doorstep'

Lavinia Henderson with "Lomond Opposing Wind Projects" voiced opposition at a Thursday public hearing.

She says the project will be "practically on their doorstep," referring to her family's farm.

"We've got about 26 of them on two sides," Henderson told the Calgary Eyeopener Thursday.

"They're lined up in a row on what we call a half a section, so two large parcels of land. And the third one is a little over a thousand meters away from my mom's residence."

Apart from impacting their view, Henderson says the turbines can be loud.

"When you're used to living in a very quiet area ... you become used to that." 

The turbines in this proposed project will be bigger than most, reaching 200 metres into the sky. The Calgary Tower, as a reference, is 191 metres.

Henderson also has other concerns, including an effect called "shadow flicker," which occurs when the sun casts a moving shadow as it shines through rotating blades.

She now hopes the group's concerns will be heard.

An ABO Wind spokesperson says they can't comment while the hearing is underway. 

The Alberta Utilities Commission, however, says social, economic and environmental effects are all included when looking at a project like this.

A decision is expected in February.

With files from Colleen Underwood and the Calgary Eyeopener

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