Kneehill and Starland Counties, north and west of Drumheller, are looking to become leaders in alternate energy.

ATCO Electric wants to build three separate solar farms, two of them north of Three Hills and one in the Michichi area north of Drumheller.

"We've got approvals for the Kneehill One project and development permits from the county," reported Nick Peelar, the Area Supervisor for ATCO Electric. "Approvals for the Kneehill Two project and for the Michichi project will be pursued in 2019."

The three solar farms are each located on 160 acres of private land and are designed to each produce 44,000 megawatt hours annually, which is enough to power 6,000 homes.

"We have consulted with people in the area (and) we've mailed out comprehensive information packages to all nearby residents and stakeholders," added Peelar. "We conduct one on one consultations with all those within 800 metres of one of the project sites."

He noted there really hasn't been a lot of backlash from people, especially once they know how the projects will affect life nearby.

"Questions about glare are common, but since the panels are designed to absorb, the reflectivity is much lower compared to standard glass," he pointed out. "We don't anticipate any impact to those living or driving near the facilities or for any flight operations in the area."

The first Kneehill solar project will undergo construction in 2019. Kneehill Two and the Michichi solar project are due to begin late next year or in 2020.


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