The HAT Smart Wind Farm is a three turbine wind installation in the City of Medicine Hat. Each turbine generates up to two megawatts (MW) of electricity at capacity.
The turbines were commissioned in summer 2014 and are a public-private partnership between the City of Medicine Hat and the Box Springs Wind Corporation, a subsidiary of Wind River Power Corporation. The turbines were erected and are maintained by the Box Springs Wind Corporation, while the City of Medicine Hat purchases all the electricity they generate for a period of 20 years.
The City of Medicine Hat receives the carbon credits from the project, which can be used to offset emissions from the municipally-owned power plant.
As the machines are expected to run approximately 30 per cent of the time, the energy generated over the course of an average year is expected to about 16,000 MWh which will supply electricity for about 2,000 homes. The wind farm will meet about 3 per cent of the City of Medicine Hat's electricity needs.
Wind farm facts
- 3 turbines outputting a maximum of 2 MWs each for a total of 6 MWs
- Expectation is about 16,000 MWh will be generated in an average wind year, enough electricity for about 2,000 homes
- Each turbine is anchored by 128 bolts holding it into the concrete. Each bolt is almost 10 feet long.
- The hubs (the part to which the blade is attached) and turbine heads were made in Spain. The blades were made in Grand Forks, North Dakota and the steel towers were made in California
- Prevailing wind direction in southern Alberta is southwest to south.
- The turbine heads can actually spin all the way around in order to best capture the blowing wind from any direction
- Each turbine has a maximum speed of 19 revolutions per minute
- Each turbine is 78 metres tall
- Each blade is 44 metres in length
- City has option to take over the wind farm after the 20 year period
After tying the wind farm power to the City's electrical grid, the wind farm began generating electricity.
Construction began on the wind turbines by the Box Springs Wind Corporation
City Council voted to transfer the rights to the Box Springs Wind Farm to Box Springs Wind Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of WindRiver Power Corporation. Through the agreement, Box Springs Wind Corporation will construct a three-turbine, six-megawatt wind farm, selling all the electricity and carbon credits to the City of Medicine Hat annually for 20 years.
City Council voted to defer the Box Springs Wind Farm. The project was expected to cost about $25 million. Council instructed City staff to begin discussions with private industry regarding the purchase of wind power or public-private partnerships.
The Alberta Utilities Commission approved the City of Medicine Hat for a four-turbine, eight-megawatt wind farm.
The City responded to the Alberta Utility Commission's information requests and submitted required Environmental reports to Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.
The City submitted its wind farm application to the Alberta Utility Commission for approval.
City Council approved the submission of an application to the Alberta Utilities Commission for permission to construct and operate a 16.5 Megawatt wind farm in the Box Springs area. The Alberta Utilities Commission approval process consists of:
- Environmental Approval - Alberta Fish & Wildlife (12 month environmental assessment required)
- Public Notice process (letters to area residents and property owners and an information Open House)
- Public Consultation (letter from Alberta Utilities Commission to industry participants)
- Alberta Electric System Operator technical approval
- Noise survey
- Independent Assessment (Electric Utility Act)
The initial Public Notice process was completed and included a public Open House that was hosted by the City on May 1 at the Family Leisure Centre with approximately 120 people in attendance.
Regulatory discussions were completed and a project development plan undertaken
City Council approved the next steps of the wind farm project:
- Determine provincial regulatory approval requirements
- Initiate a detailed project development plan for the wind farm project.
Preliminary data from the March 2006 report indicated the proposed location has the potential to support wind turbines with an output equivalent to 35,000 megawatt hours of electricity (this represents about 20% of the total annual residential electrical energy requirements for the City of Medicine Hat).
A wind monitoring tower was installed to gather data related to wind speed and consistency.