Renewable energy investment company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) is developing the Buffalo Plains wind farm.
With an installed capacity of 495MW, the project is expected to produce approximately 1.5 million megawatt hours of power a year and supply electricity to 240,000 homes in Alberta, while displacing approximately 795,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
Construction on the project commenced in November 2023, while operations are expected to begin in December 2024. The Buffalo Plains wind farm will be the largest onshore wind farm constructed in Canada.
The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) issued the permit for the Buffalo Plains wind project to renewable energy developer ABO Wind in February 2022. The project received a permit for its transmission interconnection from AUC in June 2022.
CIP purchased the Buffalo Plains project from ABO Wind in July 2022, marking the company’s second investment in Canada.
The project is part of CIP’s portfolio of renewable generating assets of up to 29GW and above, which includes offshore and onshore wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), battery storage, pumped storage hydro and transmission.
In April 2021, the developers applied for transmission system access to connect the facility to the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), which is responsible for planning and operating Alberta’s electricity grid.
The project design was finalised in November 2020, including turbine locations, access roads, collector line routing, permanent met masts and a substation with operations and maintenance building locations.
The project is being constructed on a privately owned farmland near Lomond, Alberta, in an area of approximately 17,500 acres.
The Buffalo Plains wind farm will feature 83 wind turbine units from Siemens Gamesa. The turbines will be a mix of SG6.6-170 with a capacity of 6.6MW and SG5.2-145, which has a capacity of 5.2MW.
The SG6.6-170 turbine has a hub height of 110.5m with a blade rotor diameter of 170m, while the SG5.0-145 turbine features a 95.5m hub height with a blade rotor diameter of 145m.
The associated infrastructure includes a substation, a collector system with fibre optic cabling, a transmission line, two meteorological towers and new access roads.
The collector system will have a transmission capacity of 34.5kV. The cables will be accompanied by fibre optic cables and run underground and above ground to transmit the electricity from the turbines to the substation.
A high-voltage transmission line with a length of 12km to 15km will be constructed, which will connect the project’s substation to the Alberta grid. The substation is proposed to be linked to the 356S Milo substation in Lomond, Canada.
Two temporary meteorological towers will be used to measure wind speed and direction at the project site during the development phase. The two towers will be removed upon completion of construction and replaced with four permanent meteorological towers.
An operations and maintenance building will be constructed for the local maintenance staff.
Power purchase agreements
Amazon will purchase 415MW of output from the Buffalo Plains wind farm, as part of a power purchase agreement signed with CIP in November 2023.
Buffalo Plains wind project benefits
The project will provide economic and environmental benefits to the Alberta region. It will generate 300 jobs during the construction phase, and up to 15 permanent local jobs.
It will set up a community vibrancy fund to provide and update facilities in the community. It will contribute more than C$600,000 to the community over its lifespan.
The project will also set up a Green Options programme, allowing landowners living within 2km of a turbine to collect a yearly payment. The programme will contribute more than C$1m to local landowners over its lifespan.
Canada-based construction company Borea is providing construction services for the project.