Medicine Hat ready to go green with renewable energy
By Alex Mccuaig on July 12, 2014.
Medicine Hat might not be changing its moniker from the Gas City to the Green City anytime soon but two municipal renewable energy projects set to come online this year may lead to that in the future.
The city’s (and Canada’s only) solar-thermal project is completed and is awaiting regulatory approval while the three wind turbines are up and should be running by the end of summer.
The WindRiver’s subsidiary Box Springs Wind Corp. will see the three turbines generate up to a maximum of six megawatts of electricity that, in turn, is expected to generate enough to power nearly 2,000 Hat homes.
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The public, private partnership model will see the city provide a guaranteed market for electricity generated at the windfarm over 20 years. After the end of that period, the windfarm will revert to city ownership.
The solar project’s opening has hit a regulatory snag, according to city energy division spokesperson Wilbur McLean.
“From our end, it’s pretty much ready to go,” he said.
“What we are waiting for is for the Alberta Boiler Safety Association to approve it.”
The little known regulatory body had deemed the project to fall within its mandate.
“Since it was the first one of its kind in Alberta, they had a lot of questions about it,” said McLean.
“They are still getting answers to those questions … We are hopeful to get their approval by the end of the summer.”
But that’s not stopping interest from around the globe regarding the solar project.
McLean called it a “leadership project” citing that while solar technology is proven, “we just don’t know how it will work in our winters.”
But depending on how it does, it could have implications for further expanding the viability of the technology in northern and southern hemispheres.
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