Investing in the Southeastern Alberta Market: May Update

img

A confident group of stakeholders in the warm, windy Southeastern corner of Alberta recognize that investing in Mother Nature’s boundless energy could create investment and employment opportunities and help diversify SE Alberta’s economy.


Alberta’s energy needs are increasing. Diversifying Alberta’s resources from solar and wind to supplement the energy we receive from the fossil fuel industry, will help ensure a stable energy economy in Alberta.


The South Eastern Alberta Energy Diversification Strategy (SEEDS) group is comprised of local organizations: Alberta Labour, APEX Regional Innovation Network of Southeast Alberta, City of Brooks, City of Medicine Hat, Community Futures Entre-Corp, County of Newell, Economic Development Alliance (EDA) of Southeast Alberta and Medicine Hat College.


The group’s aim – to have this region recognized as a provincial and national leader in renewable energy development and innovation. Using the natural renewable resources at hand – wind and sunshine – to entice investors to Southeastern Alberta.

 

This group has explored the potential employment and economic impacts of large-scale (over 1MW) solar and wind projects planned for Alberta by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) Connection List.

 

As of December 31, 2016, that project list identified 85-proposed projects: 33 for solar and 52 for wind energy within the province. Nineteen (37%) proposed wind and 16 (48%) proposed solar projects make up 41% of the total planned for the province. An impressive economic value for this area by CanSIA & CanWEA calculations. Over the next two decades these 35 projects could result in over $7.8 billion in investment, $580 million in lease payments to landowners and $765 million in property tax revenue for local municipalities. And to bolster the labour force, an estimated 10,875 temporary construction jobs and 397 permanent operations and maintenance jobs will be recruited.


“Build it and they will come”, reverberates as SEEDS begins to realize real progress, born out of the past four years cultivating this corner of the province as an attractive investment to big business, with a bent to local energy resources. 


Recently, three companies have begun to set down roots in the region, recognizing the area’s potential: good transportation corridors of road and rail, unlimited sunshine, geographical considerations and municipal co-operation.


Capital Power Corporation wind project, developer of the 58-turbine, $300M project south of Bow Island in County of Forty Mile plans to begin construction in late 2018, with the facility going online in late 2019. A spokesperson for the company says there will be a need for subcontractors, suppliers and approximately 200 trades people at the peak of construction. Once the facility is up and running, it will create 10 permanent jobs.


Medicine Hat’s sunshine has attracted a growing production and packaging medicinal marijuana facility – Aurora Cannabis – creating 450 jobs. Construction has begun this spring and the company’s objective is to produce its first crop next winter. The facility will be built by Aurora's in-house design and construction branch, though their CEO says they provide oversight to mostly local contractors. The facility will provide a wide range of occupations, from lower-skilled to positions requiring doctoral degrees. Positions include production and quality control technicians, managerial and executive positions, facility management and business development.


Hut 8 Mining (Bitfury Group) is set to build a $100M cryptocurrency mining and blockchain infrastructure facility and is expected to be fully functional by September 2018. The company collaborated with the City of Medicine Hat on electricity supply (including the interconnection facility) and the land lease. It will continue to serve as a strong economic stimulator for the region including creating 42 permanent IT jobs and 100 temporary construction jobs.

– with files

Posted on:
Monday, May 21, 2018