At its core, the ethos of Alberta is built on the idea that “you can’t create jobs without killing the environment.”
A new solar energy farm, however, is evidence of the province’s shift towards a more diverse energy sector which is kinder to the planet than the muck currently being extracted from the ground.
Recently approved by the provincial government, the Travers Solar Project will see 1.5 million solar panels strewn about the fields of Vulcan County, one of the sunniest locations in the country. Construction will begin in 2020, with operation expected by the end of 2021. The project will cost an estimated $550 million and cover approximately 4,700 acres of privately owned.
The 400 megawatts of juice produced by the panels can power an estimated 100,000 homes – an output four times higher than Canada’s next-largest solar project, in Kingston.
“It will be, by far, the largest solar energy project in Canada and one of the largest in the world,” said Dan Balaban, president and CEO of Greengate, the Calgary-based company bringing the project to life. Greengate is also behind Canada’s largest wind farm, which happens to also be located in Vulcan County.
“Alberta is blessed with tremendous fossil fuel resources, but we also have among the best renewable energy resources in the world,” added Balaban. “With the costs of renewable energy continuing to come down, we’ve now reached the point where renewable energy makes sense on a subsidy-free, market basis and can have a pretty significant role in our power mix going forward.”
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