Buffalo Plains Wind Farm

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ABO Wind is proposing the Buffalo Plains wind farm project on 17,500 acres of privately owned farmland near Lomond, Alberta.

The project consists of 83 proposed wind turbine generators and will benefit the community through job creation, lease and property tax payments as well as community vibrancy funds and green option program.

Development
Permitting process
Current status
Construction
Operation

News

 June 27, 2022: ABO Wind receives AUC permit for Buffalo Plains Wind Farm Interconnection 

After having been issued a building permit in February 2022, a subsidiary of ABO Wind has now received an additional permit and licence from the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) for the transmission interconnection for the Buffalo Plains Wind Farm located near Lomond, Alberta. The interconnection project involves constructing approximately 15 kilometres of new transmission line along an existing corridor to connect the proposed Amber 611S substation (located on the wind farm site) to AltaLink's existing Milo 356S substation.

“We are very pleased to have achieved this next step towards bringing the Buffalo Plains project to fruition,” said Buffalo Plains Interconnection Project Manager Najee Elbaroudi. “We believe the Buffalo Plains project will continue to build momentum for renewable energy in Alberta. Through collaborative efforts with many groups and stakeholders we assessed the potential routes to find the solution which least impacted environmentally and culturally significant areas.

ABO Wind opened its Canadian headquarters in Calgary in 2017 and primarily focuses on developing wind and solar energy, energy storage, and green hydrogen projects in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. The ABO Wind Canada team is supported by the over 900 technical experts as part of ABO Wind’s worldwide presence.

ABO Wind’s global head office is in Germany. The group has projects in over 16 countries worldwide and has grown to be one of Europe's leading developers of renewable energy projects with over 1,800 megawatts of installed capacity and annual investments in projects exceeding CAD $450M. The company's business focuses on planning, financing, and managing wind and solar farms, and hybrid energy systems. 

ABO Wind receives permit for Buffalo Plains Wind Farm

(Calgary, February 14, 2022) A subsidiary of ABO Wind has been issued a permit and licence from the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) for its Buffalo Plains Wind Farm located near Lomond, Alberta. Once constructed, the 83 wind turbines will have a total capacity of 514.6 megawatts and will generate approximately 1.5 million megawatt hours of electricity per year. The Project would displace approximately 795,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and would provide enough power for the equivalent of 240,000 Alberta homes. Before the project is ready to build, there are several more objectives to reach including an additional permit for a transmission line.

“We are very excited to achieve this important milestone in the project,” said Buffalo Plains Project Manager Jonathan Cooper. “Alberta is in the process of an energy transition, triggered by a desire to diversify electricity supply and reduce carbon emissions. Buffalo Plains Wind Farm could help lead this transition in the province. Alberta continues to be a leader in the energy industry and ABO Wind is excited to meaningfully contribute to this growing industry within this great province.”

ABO Wind opened its Canadian headquarters in Calgary in 2017 and primarily focuses on developing wind energy, photovoltaic, energy storage, and green hydrogen projects in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. The ABO Wind Canada team is supported by the over 900 technical experts as part of ABO Wind’s worldwide presence.

ABO Wind is a privately-owned, Germany-based renewable energy company with projects in over 16 countries worldwide and has grown to be one of Europe's leading developers of renewable energy projects with over 1,800 megawatts of installed capacity and annual investments in projects exceeding CAD $450M. The company's business focuses on planning, financing, and managing wind farms, solar farms, biogas plants, and hybrid energy systems.

November 2020: Final Project Update Newsletter 

Buffalo Plains has finalized it's project design including turbine locations, access roads, collector line routing, permanent met masts and our substation & O&M building locations. A newsletter was sent out on November 17th with information about the project design, noise impact assessment, shadow flicker analysis, and turbine lighting & marking as well as community benefits. This newsletter and all our past mail outs can be found in the downloads section.

We anticipate to file our application with the Alberta Utilities Commission before the end of the year and are committed to continue engagement with landowners and stakeholders, should you have any questions please reach out to Jon Cooper at (403) 993-2469 or Jonathan.cooper@abo-wind.com

October 2020: Online Information Session 

The Buffalo Plain's team thanks all the stakeholders and interested parties that we able to attend the online information session. We were pleased to present the final Project design and details and answer the questions received. If you were unable to attend the information session and would like to view the presentation, please find it conveniently in our downloads section.

Buffalo Plains Representatives remain available to answer any questions and are pleased to send the information session presentation to stakeholders via mail or electronic mail.

For more information or questions about the Buffalo Plains Wind Farm, please contact Jon Cooper at (403) 993-2469 or jonathan.cooper@abo-wind.com.

September 2020: 3rd Project Update Newsletter Sent Out with Invitation to Online Information Session 

On September 16th, 2020 the third Project Newsletter with updates about the Project and an invitation to our online information session was sent out.

During the online information session Buffalo Plains Representatives will present the final Project details and design.

To attend the session:

  • How: type www.zoom.us/j/5873558723 or dial +1 (587) 328-1099, 5873558723#
  • When: Wednesday October 14th, 2020 @ 7:00PM
  • Questions: Submit questions through mail or electronic mail by October 7th, 2020
  • Can't Attend: email canada@abo-wind.com or find the presentation in our downloads section after the session

Accompanying the Project Newsletter

  • An updated map showing the adjustments and modifications of the turbine layout and access road
  • Resource brochure about Project benefits and wind power in general
  • Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) brochure

For more information, please contact Jon Cooper at
(403) 993-2469 or
Jonathan.cooper@abo-wind.com

 

April 2020: 2nd Project Update Newsletter Sent Out

On April 24th 2020, the second Project Newsletter with information and updates about the Project was sent out to all stakeholders of the area including:

  • An updated map showing the adjustments and modifications of the turbine layout and access road network
January 2020: 1st Newsletter with Invitation to Community Breakfast on January 25th Sent Out

To learn more about the proposed Buffalo Plains Wind Farm and to collect community feedback on recent project adjustments. Buffalo Plains will also be announcing its Green Option (GO) Program which is aimed at providing annual benefit from the wind power project to the community.

The Community Breakfast will be held at

TNT Café
located on 14 railway avenue south, Lomond Alberta
on Saturday, January 25th,
from 9:00AM to 11:00AM.

For more information, please contact Jon Cooper, Project Manager, at
403-993-2469.

 

January 2020: ABO Wind announces Green Option Program

ABO Wind is excited to announce our Green Option (GO) program as part of the overall community benefits of the Buffalo Plains Wind Project. This new and innovative program which will fund $38,000 annually to provide a green energy benefit to residents living closest to the Buffalo Plains Project.

The program is expected to contribute long-term community funding of around one million dollars of local investment over the 25+ year lifespan of the project. It will bring a clear and quantifiable green rebate to residents living within 2 km of any project turbine and is designed such that the biggest benefit will go to those closest residents.

For more information, download our GO program flyer.

November 2019 : Open House on November 28, 2019

An initial open house was held to introduce ABO Wind and the Project to the public in March 2019. Since then, we have been hard at work to take the feedback received and integrate it into our project design, wherever feasible. We are excited to invite you to our second open house to present the updated Project design. The open house will be held at TNT Café, 14 Railway Avenue South, Lomond, Alberta on November 28th from 3:00PM – 8:00PM.

November 2019: 3rd Project-Specific Info Package Sent Out

On November 15th 2019, the second project specific information package was sent out to all stakeholders of the area.

This info package contained the following documents:

  • Invitation to the Open House on November 28th 2019
  • Project Brochure
  • Alberta Utilities Commission Brochure
  • Updated Map of the project site

 

March 2019 : 2nd Project-Specific Info Package Sent Out

On March 6th 2019, the second project specific information package was sent out to all stakeholders of the area.

This info package contained the following documents:

  • Invitation to the Open House on March 27th 2019
  • Project Brochure
  • Alberta Utilities Commission Brochure
  • Updated Map of the project site
February 2019: Open House on March 27, 2019

Buffalo Plains will hold a series of open houses to consult with local stakeholders and provide information as well as to collect your feedback concerning the project.

You are welcome to attend our first Open House at TNT Café, 14 Railway Avenue South, Lomond, Alberta on March 27th from 3:00PM – 7:00PM

We will have company representatives and experts on hand to discuss the project with you, snacks and beverages will also be available.

December 2018: Meteorological Mast Erected

On December 21st, 2018 Buffalo Plains Wind Farm’s first Meteorological Mast was erected and in operation. This mast will measure the wind speeds and provide data to the developer. The mast stands at 122m (400ft) tall and takes measurements of the wind speed at five heights as well as the wind direction and air temperature.

Buffalo Plains Wind Farm’s first Meteorological Mast

November 2018: 1st Project Specific Info Package Sent Out

On November 27th 2018, the first information package was sent out to all residents of the area.

The info package contained the following documents:

 

September 2018: Current Development Stage

The project is completing the following steps: public consultation, environmental impact assessments, wind resource assessments, layout optimization and preliminary project engineering.

Studies to be completed

  • Wildlife: Birds, Bats and sensitive species
  • Vegetation: Habitat mapping and endangered species
  • Wetlands: Mapping and classification
  • Noise: Impact assessment
  • Shadow Flicker: Impact assessment
  • Historical Resource: Archaeological

 

 

Project information

Site Location

Buffalo Plains Wind Farm

 

Power Facility

Delivered Capacity 500 MW
Proposed Turbine 83 proposed turbine locations Siemens Gamesa 6.0-170 (6.2MW)
115 meter hub height
170 meter blade rotor diameter
Substation Proprosed project substation will be located on SW-36-16-21-W4
Collection 34.5 kV underground and aboveground collector system accompanied with fibre optic cabling
Roads Existing roads and access points will be used wherever possible. Approximately 55 kilometers of new access roads will be built to service turbines.
Interconnection Project will be interconnected to the grid through a proposed 12 to 15 kilometer transmission line. The scope and characteristics of the transmission line will be determined in consultation with the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).
Land Base Approximately 17,500 acres of privately-owned land is under long term agreements for the project.
This information is based on the final design and is subject to change.

 

Further information

The project is proposed to deliver 500 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System, comprising 83 total towers.

The project sits on roughly 17,500 acres of privately owned land under long-term option agreement, with several private landowners signed up with the project. Wildlife surveys were conducted from the spring to fall of 2019 and are now complete. A summary report with all of the results has been submitted to Government wildlife biologists at Alberta Environment and Parks.

Visual simulations, noise modeling, and a shadow flicker assessment for the preliminary project layout have now all been completed, and the preliminary results were presented to the public at the November 2019 Open House and final resuls were provided at the October online information session. They can also be found in the downloads section.

Wind Turbines: The turbine model selected for permitting is the Siemens Gamesa 6.0-170 with a nominal capacity of 6.2MW. This turbine has a hub height of 115 meters and a rotor diameter of 170 meters. This turbine model has a reduced noise emission profile accompanied with a slightly lower hub height and a slightly larger rotor diameter but maintains the same overall height as the previously proposed model.

Collector System: The project will utilize a medium voltage collector system consisting of above ground and underground cables that transmit the electricity from the turbines to the project substation.

Access Roads: A road use agreement will be negotiated with Vulcan County to upgrade and utilize existing roads where necessary. Terms of the agreement require that the roads remain in the same, or improved, condition after the completion of the project. Outside of County roads, about 56 kilometers of new roads are also expected to be built on the project site for turbine access.

Other Infrastructure: The project will include a substation to step the voltage up from the collector system voltage to the transmission level voltage. The project will also require an Operations and Maintenance building for the local maintenance staff, which will be located close to the substation.

Interconnection: The project intends to construct a 12-15 kilometers high-voltage transmission line to connect the project substation to the Alberta grid. The project substation is planned to connect to the 356S Milo substation, located north of Lomond in the grazing leases.

Meteorological Tower: Two temporary towers have been erected for the development of the project to measure wind speed and direction. After construction, the two towers will be removed and up to four permanent met towers will be installed to collect long term forecasting data, in compliance with the Alberta Electric System Operator system regulations.

 

Downloads

 

 

 

 

Schedule

Spring 2018 Land secured with original developer
Summer 2018 Land purchased by ABO Wind
September 2018 Stakeholder consultation begins
December 2018 Additional land secured (land base extended)
December 2018 First meteorological mast erected
Spring 2019 Environmental studies begin
March 27th 2019 First Open House
June 2019 Entered AESO Queue
November 28th 2019 Second Open House
December 2019 Second meteorological mast erection
Fall 2020 Anticipated AUC Application
Spring 2021 Anticipated AUC Approval
Winter 2021 Anticipated date of construction
Winter 2023 Target Commercial Operations Date (COD)
2048 Anticipated decommissioning and reclamation
Schedule is preliminary and is subject to change

Schedule

Photos

Buffalo

Buffalo

Background

Clean Energy Targets

The proposed wind farm comprising up to 83 wind turbine generators will generate enough to supply a city of more than 100,000 homes with clean energy. In addition, the wind farm will help Alberta to reduce emissions and create new jobs.

The Developer

ABO Wind is a privately-owned, German-based renewable energy company with projects in over 16 countries worldwide. It was founded in 1996 by two friends Jochen Ahn and Matthias Bockholt and has grown to be one of Europe's leading developers of renewable energy projects with over 1500 MW of installed capacity and annual investments in projects exceeding CAD $450M. The company's business focuses on planning, financing, and managing wind farms, solar farms, biogas plants, and hybrid energy systems. ABO Wind employs over 700 people around the globe, including six staff based at the North American development office in Calgary. Learn more: www.abo-wind.ca

Public Consultation

We are committed to an open and transparent consultation process in accordance with the Alberta Utilities Commission Rule 007. In March 2019, we held our first open house to gather feedback about the proposed Project. We took the feedback received from the community and integrated it into our initial project design. In November 2019, we presented our initial project design to the community and gathered further feedback. This feedback was taken into consideration and wherever applicable and feasible project adjustments were made. These adjustment included turbine relocation and movement and in some cases turbine removal. The road design was adjusted based on specific stakeholder feedback. In addition, we incorporated a 2KM setback from the Village of Lomond as requested by stakeholders and community members. The project conception plan originally included 125 turbines and has been reduced to 83 wind turbines. These adjustments have been conveyed to stakeholders through mail out packages and newsletters as well as through our website at www.buffaloplainswindfarm.com. In October 2020 we presented the final project design to the community during our online information session. A copy of the mail out packages and newsletters can be found in the download section of our website.

Furthermore, we have responded to the community’s request for further community value by adding a Community Vibrancy Fund that will contribute funds directly into the Village of Lomond to contribute to community initiatives. In addition to this program our Green Option Program was released to provide yearly benefit to stakeholders living within 2KM of a Buffalo Plains wind turbine. These community value programs were presented to the community on January 25th, 2020 at a community breakfast held by Buffalo Plains Wind Farm.

We are committed to regularly updating stakeholders on the project through mail out packages (Project Specific Information Packages), newsletters and through our website which has the most up to date news on the project. We are continuing to gather feedback from the community through phone or in person consultation and open houses.

We truly appreciate the feedback we have received so far and encourage the community and stakeholder to provide us with further feedback. Buffalo Plains Wind Farm will provide a comprehensive summary of stakeholder feedback as part of our application with the AUC. To learn more about the AUC application and review process, please visit the AUC's website at www.auc.ab.ca.

Local Benefits

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did you choose this location for the wind farm?

The area was chosen due to its large open agricultural lands, favourable wind resource, and relatively close access to the bulk transmission system to the north. Consultation meetings with the County, landowners and local community also supported the potential for a viable wind project in the area. It is also important to note that the Government of Alberta, through Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), has set regulations and guidelines for preferred wind farm site screening, and these guidelines were used to site this wind farm project, as the area meets many of the recommended screening criteria.

How much space will the wind farm take up?

The project covers approximately 17,500 acres of private land. Only a few hundred acres will be permanently removed from cultivation once the Project is complete. The remaining acreage is free for other uses, such as farming or ranching.

Could you move the wind farm to nearby lower value grazing pasture or crown lands?

The AEP guidelines strongly discourage development on native prairie and grassland pastureland for wind farms due to the much higher environmental and ecological value of such lands. Crown lands across the province do not presently have policy in place for the development of wind farm projects, and therefore no wind farm development is currently allowed.

How is consultation done with the community and how will concerns be addressed?

We are committed to open and transparent consultation with all relevant stakeholders, and in accordance with the regulations for Project consultation outlined by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) in its Rule 007, Appendix A1. The objective of good consultation is to provide stakeholders with clear and timely information about the Project, and with sufficient opportunity to respond and make inquiries or to offer specific input to guide and update the development process. Feedback is always assessed and reviewed, and a response will always be provided. Where practical and viable for the Project design, changes to Project planning will be implemented based on the feedback received. 

In September 2018, some initial consultation was initiated with landowners for the Project. A more formal notification and consultation list was updated and prepared leading up to the first open house, held on March 27th, 2019. The list continues to be vetted and updated and will be used again for future mail outs or invitations leading up to the final open house which is planned to be held before Project application submission to the AUC. All occupants, residents and landowners within 2km of the Project area will be notified by mail of any Project changes or updates, and everyone within 800m will be directly consulted on the final Project plan prior to AUC submission.

Finally, this Project website has been published for the public to get the most up-to-date information as well as submit questions or comments. Project information is regularly updated at this website and is available for all to access.

How will the project benefit the community?

The Project will provide many local community benefits. Firstly, the project will generate over $1 million in annual payments to local farmers and landowners as well as several million a year in local county property taxes. These revenues are reinvested locally through business and property investments by landowners and county revenues that offset other budgetary needs, and future tax increases. During the 18 month construction period, hundreds of construction jobs will be generated, and raw materials and labour will be sourced locally whenever possible. Once completed, over a dozen long-term, well-paid jobs will be created for site management and maintenance. Furthermore, a community vibrancy fund has been established to provide further benefit through long-term funding of initiatives within the local community. In addition, a Green Option Program has been released which is anticipated to contribute more than a million dollars to landowners living within 2km of a Buffalo Plains wind turbine over the lifspan of the Project. Details of the vibrancy fund and green option program can be found in the downloads section.

How close will turbines be to the town of Lomond and how is this determined?

The Preliminary layout sited 5 turbines within 2km of the town limits of Lomond, with the closest turbine at roughly 1100m (T-30) from the town limits.

After consulation and in respone to the feedback from the community Buffalo Plain has implemented a two kilometre setback from the residential zoned areas in the Village of Lomond. This included removal or relocation of several turbine locatons.

Are there potential health effects due to noise from the turbines?

Over the past decade, many studies have been done reviewing the potential for any relation between turbine noise (and more generally, industrial noise) and human health. A number of these studies can be found on the right in the resource section. A recent Health Canada study published in 2014 reviewed health surveys for more than 1200 residents living near wind turbines in PEI and Ontario. The study concluded that no evidence exists to support a direct link between turbine noise and human health. The study is available online via the link on the project website or directly at the following website: www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/environmental-workplace-health/noise/wind-turbine-noise.html.

The research consensus has more broadly concluded that some aspects of wind turbines, such as view and noise, can cause some people to feel a sense of annoyance. This annoyance impact can, in some cases, lead to some generalized health symptoms such as heightened stress and poor sleep. Interestingly, the research shows that annoyance is more directly related to the visual impact of wind turbines, more than to noise. Consultation, careful siting and compliance with noise regulation all mitigate the risk of annoyance to the general public.

It is also worth noting that the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) Rule 012 has developed rigorous noise regulations for industrial energy projects and has reviewed and continuously assessed the regulations for more than a decade. The AUC regulations on noise have been developed specifically to ensure the public’s safety regarding noise emissions from industrial energy facilities. The regulation does not allow cumulative sound pressure levels, measured in decibels (dBA), to exceed 40 dBA at any nearby residence during the night or 50 dBA during the day.

 

How are visual impacts assessed for the wind farm?

A number of photo simulations from common vantage points around the community have been prepared and are posted in the downlods section of the project website. The visual simulations provide a good reference for the public to assess the visual impact of the Project. There are no current government regulations for visual impact, and turbine layout is generally driven more by wind resource, land constraints (wildlife, bylaws, or land use), and noise and shadow considerations (both regulated by the AUC) as opposed to the more subjective criterion of visual impact.

What happens when the wind farm is no longer in service? 

The Project is estimated to have a 20 to 25 year operational life, after which the Project must be decommissioned or refurbished. Decommissioning of the turbines and returning the land use to its prior state is a standard condition of the project approval with the AUC, as well as a contractual obligation with the host landowners. Furthermore, the Project has committed in its leases to post a performance bond or other similar security prior to the start of decommissioning. It is hoped, however, that due to the sustainability of wind resource extraction, there will be a need and economic benefit to keep the project going past its initially proposed life span of 20 to 25 years.

Will the project impact the environment or wildlife?

No large-scale infrastructure project is built without some impact. However, ABO wind intends on minimizing the impact of this wind farm project to the extent possible. In compliance with the Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) siting guidelines, the preliminary layout generally avoids placing permanent infrastructure (turbines, roads, substation) on any natural grassland or native prairie to mitigate impact on high value environmental features. Maskwa Environmental Consulting, a Calgary based environmental consultant, has conducted a suite of environmental surveys in 2019 and is preparing an Environmental Evaluation for the project area, in consultation with the regional wildlife biologist from AEP. Details of the surveys and timing were provided at the open house and are available on the project website in the open house materials. AEP has proposed setbacks for specific species and land types that are particularly sensitive or at risk. Construction and operational practices and mitigations are reviewed and approved by AEP prior to final AUC review and approval of the project.

Will property value be impacted by the wind farm?

Many studies have been conducted on property sale data in and around wind farms in Canada, the United States, and internationally. The reports demonstrate that data gathered over the past decade consistently show that there is no material impact on home or property sale prices related to proximity to wind turbines.

In a series of studies, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) examined the assessments of properties in Ontario located at a distance of 1 km, 2 km and 5 km from wind turbines. The studies found that for both 2012 and 2016, there was no significant impact on sale prices of residential properties resulting from the proximity to a wind turbine.

A 2013 study prepared for the US Department of Energy reviewed 50,000 sales in 27 counties across 9 states (including 1198 home sales within 1 mile of a turbine), and concluded that there is no statistical evidence that turbines impact property value.

 

How will turbine lighting be mitigated?

Transport Canada has legal requirements for wind turbine lighting that must be followed for the safe navigation of aircraft. Transport Canada will be consulted to get agreement to apply the minimum amount of lighting necessary on the turbines. Each project is evaluated for lighting on a case by case basis. For larger projects, not every turbine needs a light. Other possible mitigation of turbine lighting could be done using light shielding so that light is directed upward and not toward the ground where it is not needed. More information on the turbine lighting plan will be provided once the final layout is known and the Transport Canada assessment is received.

What will the impacts on local road use be during construction?

Public roads will be used during construction by heavy machinery and equipment for the delivery of raw materials and building components such as concrete, gravel, and turbine components. Vulcan County will be consulted prior to the start of construction to negotiate a Road Use Agreement (RUA). The RUA will ensure that the roads used during construction will be recorded (by video or photo), monitored during construction and restored (or upgraded) after construction is completed. A traffic management plan will also be developed by the construction team and presented to the County and the community prior to the start of construction, and the plan will outline mitigation measures for traffic through appropriate site speed limits and daily work hours, as well as dust control measures and public notification of the various stages of construction traffic to and from the site.

How does a wind turbine work?

Modern wind turbines have three components: the tower, the rotor consisting of three blades, and the nacelle. The hub transmits the rotational movement of the rotor blades inside the nacelle, where the generator transforms the kinetic energy into electricity. The electricity is transferred through underground cables to a substation where the voltage is stepped up to transmission level voltage. For a more detailed explanation, see this pdf.

 

 

What questions do you have about Buffalo Plains Wind Farm? Please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Contact

Jonathan Cooper

Tel. +1 587 392 5005
jonathan.cooper(at)abo-wind.com

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