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Sun shining for M.D. solar development

Posted on June 29, 2017 by Taber Times

By Nikki Jamieson
Vauxhall Advance

The M.D. appears to be a hot spot for solar energy as more solar farm proposals springs up.

During their regular June 13 meeting, the Municipal District of Taber received a letter from the Taber Irrigation District, requesting support for a solar photovoltaic renewable energy facility.

“I believe we’ve done this, something similar, to the BRID,” said Brian Brewin, reeve for the M.D.

Jack Dunsmore, director of planning and infrastructure for the M.D., informed council that a consultant for a solar energy company called him asking about land owned by the TID.

“I told him I can’t talk to him unless he gets something from the land owner,” said Dunsmore. “TID sent a letter, an email, saying we have the right to talk to (them).”

TID had also told Dunsmore that council had sent a letter of support for renewable energy to the Bow River Irrigation District. According to Dunsmore, the letter would be in support of solar energy, and not the project itself.

“I was going to say, we need to be careful, because this still needs to go through subdivision and development (board),” said Brewin. “It’s one thing to support the concept.”

The letter, of which a draft was included in the meeting agenda, is similar to the one sent to BRID. It gives support to the concept of solar energy, stating “The M.D. of Taber support solar energy in our Municipality provided the siting of these projects is suitable and in accordance with our land-use bylaw”.

The letter itself will be sent to the landowner, and not the solar developers.

According to a letter sent from TID to M.D. CAO Derrick Krizsan, the potential solar project would be located on NW, SW and SE of Township 10 Range 16 W4M. The site in question is classified as non-irrigable land, and is “well-suited” for solar development.

As the solar project needs to go to and be approved by the M.D.’s subdivision and development authority, council did not want to comment on the project.

Council passed a motion to send a letter to TID supporting the concept of a solar energy project.

This is not the first time a solar company has eyed potential projects on M.D. land. BowMont Capital Advisory Ltd. and Canadian Solar Solutions Inc., who partnered together for the project on behalf of CB Alberta Solar Development ULC (CBA), have pushed three projects in the M.D.; the Vauxhall Solar project north of Vauxhall, the Hays Solar Project southeast of Hays and the Taber Solar Project north of Taber.

Both the Hays and Vauxhall Solar Projects have appeared before the subdivision and development board for hearings, and have been granted development permits. Both projects submitted applications under the Alberta Utilities Commission, and in follow up correspondence with Krizsan, he revealed that the AUC approved the application for the Hays Solar Project, with the Vauxhall Solar Project’s application in its final stages of approval.

The Taber Solar Project has not filed an application with the AUC nor has it appeared in front of the subdivision and development authority.

Another company, Solar Kraft, is hosting open houses on June 22, 25, and 26 for three potential solar projects north of Enchant, south of Vauxhall and north of Vauxhall respectively.

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