PPA hunt for 'Canada's largest wind farm'

Berkshire Hathaway Energy Canada (BHE Canada) and RES have launched a search for partners to buy power from what could be Canada's largest onshore wind farm, testing how wind can compete without subsidy in Alberta.

If completed, the Forty Mile wind farm would overtake EDF Renewables' 300MW Blackspring Ridge project in Alberta as Canada's largest wind farm

The developers plan to build the 398.5MW Forty Mile wind farm in south-eastern Alberta, but with the expected phase-out of clean energy tenders in the province, they will need to make the project commercially viable in a merchant environment.

An expected commissioning date or turbine supplier remains unknown, but added the companies are currently "looking for partners in long-term power purchase agreements".

In April, Alberta’s United Conservative Party government pledged to end renewable energy auctions in the province and instead encourage "market-driven green power", prompting developers to seek ways of supporting non-subsidy projects.

Evan Wilson, the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s (CanWEA) regional director for the prairies — which includes Alberta — told Windpower Monthly at the time wind could still compete in a merchant environment. 

He suggested PPAs with large-scale energy users — increasingly common in the US — or trading accredited offsets could help wind power in Alberta.

With a total capacity of 398.5MW, the Forty Mile wind farm would be the largest operational wind farm in Canada if commissioned, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.

Rattlesnake Ridge

BHE Canada and RES have found an unnamed "large Canadian corporate partner" to sign a long-term PPA for output from its newly announced 117.6MW Rattlesnake Ridge wind farm in Alberta, however.

They plan to break ground on the up-to 28-turbine site in 2020, and expect to commission the project in December 2021, the partners stated.

BHE Canada financed Rattlesnake Ridge through a combination of equity and debt, they added.

A turbine supplier is yet unnamed.