TransAlta Corp. is decommissioning the Cowley Ridge wind farm in Pincher Creek, Alberta – a project the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) calls “a pioneer for wind energy in Canada” for the past 23 years.
TransAlta says it “has consulted with landowners, and they are in agreement that the facility has met the end of its life.”
Jean-François Nolet, vice president of policy and communications at CanWEA, says, “Commissioned in 1993, TransAlta’s Cowley Ridge was Canada’s first commercial wind farm. After a long and productive life, the 57-turbine, 16 MW wind farm will be decommissioned.”
During that time, Nolet says, “Canada has risen to seventh in the world for installed wind energy capacity, with 11,205 MW today – enough to power over 3 million homes. Wind turbine technology has also advanced significantly since the Cowley Ridge turbines were mounted on their 24.5-meter lattice towers.
“With advances in technology came dramatic drops in costs. Wind energy and natural gas are now the most affordable forms of new electricity generation in Alberta, with wind energy having the advantage of no greenhouse-gas emissions and no costs for fuel,” he continues.
Nolet says although the towers will be retired, “the wind resource around Cowley Ridge remains,” as TransAlta “is actively reviewing options for repowering the site with the installation of new wind turbines to produce more clean, reliable, affordable wind power on the site.”
TransAlta says staff who have been working at the project site all of those years call the moment “bittersweet.”
The company notes decommissioning will happen from April to June, after which site reclamation will take place.
Photos courtesy of TransAlta