Blackspring Ridge goes live in Alberta

EDF EN Canada has taken taken the 300MW Blackspring Ridge project in Alberta into commercial operation, making it the largest wind farm in Western Canada, and one of the two largest in the country.

The C$600m ($554m) Blackspring Ridge – like Canada’s other operational 300MW wind farm, the Lac Alfred project in Quebec – is owned jointly by EDF EN Canada and Enbridge.

The project is located 50km north of Lethbridge, covering property held by more than 50 landowners.

While Lac Alfred employs turbines supplied by Senvion (known as REpower at the time that project was commissioned), EDF EN Canada used 166 Vestas V100-1.8 turbines for Blackspring Ridge.

Since commissioning its first Canadian wind project in late 2012, EDF EN Canada has added more than 800MW in the country – all of it owned jointly by Enbridge – and by the end of next year it plans to have brought nearly 1.4GW of Canadian wind and solar capacity into operation.

“With the commissioning of Blackspring Ridge, EDF EN Canada has established itself in Western Canada and bolstered its leadership position as one of the top wind project developers in the country,” says Cory Basil, vice president for development at EDF EN Canada.

Meanwhile, Alberta-based Enbridge, whose core business remains oil and gas distribution across North America, has built itself over the past decade into Canada’s second largest owner of operational wind capacity – and its single largest owner of solar capacity, most of it acquired from First Solar in Ontario.

Enbridge also owns significant renewables assets in the US, including the First Solar-developed 50MW Silver State South PV array in Nevada, and the recently acquired 110MW Keechi wind project in Texas, developed by RES Americas.

Alberta is seen as holding vast potential for wind energy, but it remains far behind the more liberal-minded provinces of Ontario and Quebec in installed capacity.

Earlier this month, however, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Energy agreed to buy Alberta's dominant grids company, AltaLink, in a deal that could lead to an acceleration of wind development in the province.