Warren Buffet invests $200mn in wind power plant in Alberta
A new wind power plant near Medicine Hat, Alberta will generate 117.6MW of renewable power by 2020
A new 117.6-megawatt wind farm has been announced for development in Alberta next year, the project is funded by BHE Canada, an investment firm linked with U.S investor Warren Buffet.
The Rattlesnake Ridge Wind project will be southwest of Medicine Hat in Alberta and will be able to produce power for up to 79,000 homes, according to a release from BHE Canada, a subsidiary of Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy.
"We felt that it was time to make an investment here in Alberta," said Bill Christensen, vice-president of corporate development for BHE Canada, in an interview with the Calgary Eyeopener. The structure of the markets here in Alberta make it so that we can invest, and do it at a profit that works for us, and at a price that works for the off-taker," Christensen explained.
Berkshire Hathaway Energy is set to increase its already significant 85% stake in the energy production and supply of homes in the Alberta area.
The corporate partner working with BHE Canada has yet to be named but it has been confirmed that it has already signed a long-term power purchase agreement for the majority of the potential energy output, generated by the 28 turbines at the Rattelsnake Ridge site.
"If you look at just the raw power price that power is going for in Alberta right now, it's averaged around $55 a megawatt hour, or 5.5 cents a kilowatt hour. And we're selling the wind power to this customer at substantially less than that, and there's been no subsidies," Christensen said.
Christensen has stated he has high expectation for the area’s renewable energy prospects, not just in wind but in solar power as well, particularly in the southeastern region of Alberta. Although there are high hopes for the renewable energy industry, BHE Canada has also expressed interest in more traditional power solutions in the area.
"It's not a choice of one or the other. I think there is still opportunity to make investments in oil and gas," he said. "We're really excited about having this project and hope to be able to make other investments here in Alberta to help support the economy here."
UK-based Renewable Energy Systems (RES) will be overseeing the construction of the project and is currently working on two other wind plants in Alberta. The projects already in development are set to generate 134.6MW this year, which RES can add to its pre-existing portfolio of 750MW installed or under construction across Canada.
BHE Canada and RES are still looking for further potential investment from energy buyers and are toting the project’s final capacity of 398.5MW to be one of the largest wind power projects in the country.