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  • Stage:

    Development

  • Technologies:

    Up to 34 turbines

  • Capacity:

    Up to 130 MW

Project Location

The Hand Hills Wind Project is proposed on approximately 12,000 acres of privately owned land near Delia, Alberta. It is located 28 km northeast of Drumheller within both Starland County and Special Areas 2.

Project Development

The Hand Hills Wind Project will involve a 34.5-kilovolt electrical collector system, fibre-optic cable, access roads, temporary construction roads, and an operations and maintenance building. A new ATCO transmission line will connect the new Highland 572S substation to the Alberta electricity grid at Coyote Lake 963S substation, 17 km south of the Project.

We are committed to engaging stakeholders in the decision-making process for the project. We believe that trust is the foundation for long-term successful relationships, and we know that trust is only earned over time, by working together with honest and transparent communications.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will this project benefit the local economy?

The Hand Hills Wind Project will benefit the local economy with 100,000 person-hours during construction (over a period of six to eight months), four to five full time Operation & Maintenance Technician positions, indirect revenue to the local municipality in the form of local services and supplies, and an estimated average tax revenue of over $850,000 per year over the life of the project. Wind projects provide stable income to local farmers and landowners from land lease agreements and allow farming up to the base of the turbine gravel pad, leading to increased diversification of local landowner income.

Will the Hand Hills Project receive government subsidies?

No. Wind energy generation in Alberta is competitive with traditional generation types and the Hand Hills Wind Project does not require any government subsidies.

Why is the project located on cultivated land?

The project is located on cultivated lands to minimize the environmental impact. In addition, wind turbines occupy a small fraction of the land on which they are sited, so they work in harmony with existing and established land uses. Many of the activities that occurred on the land before a wind facility was built can continue undisturbed after construction is completed. For example, crops can be planted right up to the base of the turbines and harvested with typical farming equipment. Livestock, such as sheep, cows and horses, can continue to graze around the towers.

How much concrete is in the foundation of the turbine?

A turbine foundation is approximately 3.5 – 5.0 metres deep (depending on soil conditions) and can contain approximately 500 – 600 cubic metres of concrete.

Will the project have an impact on the surrounding property values?

The most comprehensive study on wind facilities and property values to-date was conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The study analyzed more than 50,000 home sales near 67 wind facilities across nine U.S. states over ten years and found no statistical evidence that operating wind facilities have had any measurable impacts on home sale prices.

Below are studies on the relationship between wind facilities and property value:

Will my TV / Internet be impacted by the wind project?

No. TV and internet signals are now primarily digital and will not be impacted by this project.

Will the wind turbines have lights on them?

Similar to a communication tower, Transport Canada has lighting criteria for any tall structure to ensure aircraft remain safe during low lighting conditions, which we will be required to obey. As a result, some turbines will be required to have navigation lights. The number of lights will be determined by Transport Canada based on the final layout and design.

Are wind turbines noisy?

The noise emissions produced by a wind turbine vary depending on the model and size. However, all wind projects must meet the applicable Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) regulatory requirements for noise control, of 40dBA at night time. We complete detailed noise modelling to ensure the Project is below AUC sound level requirements at all residences.

Are there environmental and health impacts from wind energy?

The global wind industry collectively continues to engage with experts in science, medicine and occupational and environmental health to monitor ongoing credible research in the area of wind turbines and human health (CanWEA, 2018). Health Canada published its own study in 2014, which found that wind turbine noise exposure was not associated with self-reported medical illnesses and health conditions.

 

We understand some individuals have concerns about wind facility construction and operation and we take these concerns seriously.  The Hand Hills Wind Project has been designed to meet or exceed all provincial regulations and guidelines in place to protect human health.

Below are studies on the relationship between wind turbines and human health:

What environmental studies have been done?

As a prerequisite to receiving an Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) permit, and to update our knowledge of the environmental conditions at the site, we have conducted various environmental studies. Completed studies have assessed:

  • Spring and Fall Bird Migration
  • Spring and Fall Bat Migration
  • Breeding Birds
  • Nesting Raptors
  • Sensitive Species (e.g., Sharp-tailed Grouse, Burrowing Owl and Amphibians)
  • Wetlands
  • Listed Plants
  • Habitat Mapping
  • Noise Impact Assessment

The results of these environmental surveys were provided to Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) for their review and comment. We have been working with the AEP to implement their recommendations and to inform the development of the updated project layout.

We will continue to conduct additional environmental surveys and ensure all studies are kept up to date, as required by applicable legislation. As a standard requirement of an Alberta Utilities Commission permit, we will also be completing three years of post-construction monitoring to ensure our predicted results match collected data.

Will the project have an impact on birds and bats?

The relationship between birds, bats and wind turbines has been extensively studied in Canada, North America, and worldwide over the last several decades, and is well understood.  Wind energy projects, such as Hand Hills, have a low impact on birds and bats when properly sited.

 

We have conducted thorough environmental studies during the development of this project, and we have committed to conducting additional pre-construction wildlife surveys to inform final design and construction planning. We have also worked closely with Alberta Environment and Parks to site the wind turbines and access roads, and we will be seeking their consent for the revised project layout.

Below is a study on the relationship between wind turbines and bats: