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County selects SunAlta to investigate solar power generation at gravel pit

Officials eye Sundre-area pit for potential mixed use once extraction ceases

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Mountain View County has announced plans to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SunAlta Power to examine the potential for a solar project at the county-owned McDougal gravel pit site along Rge. Rd. 60 south of Highway 584 west of Sundre.

Council authorized administration to enter into the MOU following a recent in-camera meeting where submissions were considered.

The county had earlier issued an expression of interest document seeking potential partnership opportunities associated with the development of a solar photovoltaic (PV) installation at the site.

The MOU allows the county and SunAlta to start work on how the PV installation could be developed at the site and to seek partnership opportunities with industry to purchase power generated, officials said in a Nov. 24 press release.

The county maintains control over whether the project ultimately proceeds, and would require council approval to finalize any agreement.

The project is expected to utilize 40 acres of the 80 acre parcel.

In the release, the county said, in part, that, “Key to council’s support of moving to the next step in the process was that plans continue for a public engagement campaign over the potential of mixed-use recreation on the remainder of the site when county gravel extraction activities cease.”

Continued reclamation of the gravel pit site to provincially-certified standard is also important for both the potential solar project and the public recreation uses, the release states.

Any project at the site would be subject to appropriate planning and development processes.

“The process for any potential redesignation (rezoning) and other development permits will be strictly followed as with any application from the public,” the release states.

Three years ago the county commissioned a study exploring the potential to construct the PV system at a county-owned site, with the McDougal pit chosen at the preferred location.

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