PINCHER CREEK - The first large scale commercial wind farm in Canada is shutting down.
TransAlta has announced that the Cowley Ridge wind farm near Pincher Creek is being decommissioned.
It was built back in 1993 and 1994. The 57 turbines on the site produce about 20 megawatts of electricity. The lifespan of this equipment is about 20 years, and this site is becoming a safety issue and there's a lack of replacement parts.
Operations Supervisor Wayne Oliver says the turbines will be coming down, "We'll start working on it in April and it would take approximately three to three and a half months to disassemble."
He adds they are very interested in repowering the site in the future. "The current economic model in Alberta for the wholesale price of electricity is very low, so at this point, right now in 2016, it's not economically feasible to build a new wind farm there to replace what's there, but we will be monitoring very closely the opportunity to repower that site."
TransAlta will be able to recycle about 80 to 85 per cent of the wind turbines, including metal, copper, and oil. The only thing that's not feasible to recycle is the fiberglass blades at this point.