Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online
CALGARY—TC Energy Corporation announced on Oct. 4 it will begin pre-construction activities of the Saddlebrook Solar Project located near Aldersyde, Alberta. TC Energy is investing $146 million to build its first Canadian solar power project.
The announcement is one of a series of renewable energy projects backed by major traditional oil and gas players. For instance, Suncor is building the 200 megawatt Forty Mile Granlea wind project near Medicine Hat.
TC Energy’s Saddlebrook Solar Project will have a nameplate capacity to generate 81 megawatts, enough energy to power 20,000 homes annually. The press release did not say if that number is based on when the sun is shining, or averaged out throughout the year.
The initial construction includes installing solar panels on TC Energy property in the local industrial park. Aldersyde is a hamlet on Highway 2 south of Calgary, between Okotoks and High River.
Notably, TC Energy’s ESG portion of its web pages speaks of decarbonizing their energy consumption, investing in low-carbon energy and infrastructure, and leveraging carbon credits and offsets.
“This is the first utility-scale solar project to be fully developed and delivered by TC Energy in our history,” said Corey Hessen, TC Energy executive vice-president and president, Power & Energy Solutions, in a release. “This investment bolsters our ability to deliver low-carbon solutions for our customers and underscores our commitment to add renewable energy to the local electricity grid.”
The project is partially supported by $10 million from Emissions Reduction Alberta. This funding supports developing this hybrid solar generation facility, which when combined with a flow battery energy storage system, will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta.
TC Energy has obtained all regulatory approvals and permits. Construction is expected to be completed in 2023. During the construction phase, about 140 workers are expected to support the project. Once in operation, two full-time TC Energy employees will work at the facility.
“The High River Chamber is excited to see the introduction of diversified energy solutions to our area and the potential for stronger business relationships, contract opportunities and employment possibilities,” said Lisa Szabon-Smith, executive director of High River & District Chamber of Commerce. “To see the Saddlebrook area become the home of such a project is exciting for our community.”
TC Energy continues to execute, progress and sanction high-quality projects that meet the province’s needs for low-carbon, reliable, and affordable energy. The company has acquired more than 400 MW of renewable power via power purchase agreements in Alberta in the past 24 months. In addition, in April, TC Energy announced plans to explore development of a 60-tonnes-per-day hydrogen production hub near Crossfield, Alberta.
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