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A subsidiary company of Warrant Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy, the Calgary-base BHE Canada, announced their plan to invest in a 200-million, 117.6-megawatt wind farm in southeastern Alberta in 2020. According to CBC, BHE also owns AltaLink, a regulated transmission company that powers roughly 85 per cent of Albertan homes. This latest project will be an inaugural endeavour into an otherwise untapped market in the province.
The company says that its project, called the Rattlesnake Ridge Wind project, will produce enough energy to power roughly 79,000 homes and will be located southwest of Medicine Hat.
“The Rattlesnake Ridge Wind project is a leader in the development of new grid-scale wind generation in Alberta, being constructed and operated without government subsidies,” said William Christensen, Vice President Corporate Development of BHE Canada in a press release. “BHE Canada is excited to take this first step into the Alberta market, providing low-cost, renewable energy. We’re looking forward to more opportunities to invest in Alberta’s energy industry.”
In an interview with with the Calgary Eyeopener, Christensen continued, “The structure of the markets here in Alberta make it so that we can invest,and do it at a profit that works for us, and at a price that works for the off-taker.”
Additionally, BHE Canada says that a large Canadian corporate partner has already signed a power purchase agreement for most of the energy generated by the Rattle Snake Ridge Wind project.
“If you look at just the raw power price that power is going for in Alberta right now, it’s averaged around $55 a megawatt hour, or 5.5 cents a kilowatt hour. And we’re selling the wind power to this customer at substantially less than that, and there’s been no subsidies,” Christensen said.
Though the project is being developed by U.K.-based Renewable Energy Systems, the project’s website says that they will primarily be hiring Alebertans, buying from Albertan supplier, and will be paying out royalties to local landowners. They also claim that the project will add more jobs to the economy and generate more tax revenue, lowering the tax burden for Albertans more generally.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has also commented on the project, saying that he’s very much for the exploration of renewable energy in the province.
“Alberta is proud to be home to so many great innovators and entrepreneurs who see the opportunity that exists when people choose to invest and create jobs here. This exciting new energy project will add to Alberta’s impressive renewable energy network, and is a vote of confidence in our economy. Even more encouraging is that this $200 million project does not rely on government subsidies, but instead relies on the potential and opportunity that exists right here in Alberta,” said Kenney.