COVID-19 put a wrench in a lot of plans. Vacation, weddings, events and more had to be put on hold for the safety of everyone. We also had to suspend construction of some of our projects due to our reduced capital spend program in 2020. Now, construction of the Forty Mile wind power project in southern Alberta is back in action.
“We’re very excited to move forward,” says Brian Hodder, development lead. “This will be a great project for the province, the community and Suncor. Through the construction phase it will create jobs and stimulate the local economy, and once operating, it will generate renewable, no carbon power for Alberta.”
Located on approximately 50,000 acres of private land in southern Alberta near the town of Bow Island, Suncor first introduced the proposed project to landowners, area residents and local government officials in May 2017.
The Forty Mile project is designed to be developed in two phases. Phase one consists of 45 4.5-megawatt (MW) wind turbines, an operations and maintenance building, a meteorological tower, an electrical collection system, turbine access roads, a project substation and temporary construction facilities.
Upon completion (planned for late 2022), phase one will provide 200 MW of generation capacity to the provincial electricity grid. That’s enough energy to supply the equivalent of more than 100,000 homes in Alberta.
Once operating, phase one of Forty Mile will contribute approximately five per cent of Suncor’s goal to reduce total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 30 per cent by 2030. That’s the equivalent of taking 80,000 cars off the road.
The Renewable Energy team will contribute to Suncor’s GHG reduction goal through the creation of approximately 800 MW of renewable generation by 2030. The second phase of Forty Mile is still in early stages of development and could provide an additional 200 MW of renewable power production.
The project will sell electricity into the wholesale market and will be built without any form of government subsidy, guarantee, or contractual support.
Prior to construction suspension, crews moved topsoil, placed gravel and installed pilings in preparation for the new high voltage substation. With construction activities resuming in April, this year’s focus will be on the safe completion of the substation, turbine roads and foundations.
Michael Hallett, project manager, says there will be a flurry of activity in Forty Mile County this year. “It’s important for the project to engage with the community and to establish ourselves as good neighbours, while also keeping safety at the forefront of everything we do.”
Delivery and installation of the project turbines will occur in 2022.