Alberta claims solar power status

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Vulcan County will soon be home to the country’s largest solar farm, with the world’s largest online retailer purchasing most of the power for the 465 MW facility.

The Travers Solar Park, which will be built eight kilometers southwest of Lomond, will occupy 3,300 acres of cultivated land. It will be built by Greengate Power Corporation, a private Calgary-based company that has built several large wind and solar facilities, including a 300 MW wind farm about 50 kilometers north of Lethbridge and a 150 MW wind farm east of Stettler.

Retail giant Amazon, which has pledged to be powered solely by renewables by 2025, has signed an agreement to purchase up to 400MW of electricity from Travers Solar, which is funded by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, a Danish investment company with one of the largest renewable energy investment portfolios.

The project puts Alberta firmly on the renewable energy map, said Dan Balaban, CEO of Greengate.

“Travers Solar will dramatically improve Alberta’s environmental performance, adding to Greengate’s proven track record of successfully developing large-scale renewable energy projects in Canada that deliver strong returns to investors,” said Balaban in a press release. “Greengate is proud to play a key role in creating market-based solutions that enable the global energy transition to net zero. “

Scheduled for completion next year, the Travers Solar project actually started in 2017, when Greengate undertook land and wildlife studies. An open house was held at Vulcan in 2019.

The installation will consist of 1.3 million solar panels, assembled in rows of modules. Those used in the Travers Solar project will be bifacial, meaning both sides capture sunlight.

“Bifacial solar panels are the latest solar technology and relatively new to Canada,” a Greengate spokesperson said in an email. “Snow enhances the reflection of light captured by the back side of the panel, thereby producing more energy and heating the front side of the panel, which helps melt accumulated snow.”

Although Travers Solar is not on the list of the world’s top 10 installations, it will be in the top two dozen. Most on this list are in China, India or the Middle East (although a 30,000-acre, 10-gigawatt giant slated for the Australian outback is four times the size of the current record holder).

The project is also further proof of how large companies are leading the switch to renewables.

“Amazon is now the largest renewable energy buyer in the world,” the company said in a statement announcing its latest round of energy purchases, the Travers Project being the largest.

The retailer now has 10 gigawatts of renewable electricity from 85 “large-scale” wind and solar projects around the world (as well as 147 solar roofs on facilities and stores).

This renewable energy buying frenzy “sends a signal that investing in green technologies is the right thing to do for the planet and citizens – as well as for the long-term success of businesses of all sizes in all industries. of the world ”, founder and CEO of Amazon. Jeff Bezos said in the statement announcing his purchase from Travers and 13 other projects in Finland, Spain and the United States.

Days later, Amazon announced another major Alberta project – its first “robotic fulfillment center” in the province. The robots will “support” 1,000 full and part-time employees at a new 5,600 square meter warehouse in Parkland County, west of Edmonton.


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