News Statement - October 19, 2020
E.L. Smith Solar Farm Project
On Monday, October 19, Edmonton City Council approved the rezoning of EPCOR-owned land for the E.L. Smith solar farm project. The project now has all provincial and regulatory approvals to proceed.
The solar farm will be built within the fenceline at the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant in southwest Edmonton. By connecting the solar panels directly to the plant and a battery storage system, a smart grid will be created, allowing for the generation and storage of renewable power where it is used while providing unique research and educational opportunities.
This project will allow EPCOR to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in Edmonton by 20 percent and help contribute to reaching the City of Edmonton's goal of producing 10 percent of electricity locally with green energy
"EPCOR appreciates that the rezoning decision before City Council was a complex one," said Shawn Bradford, Senior Vice President for EPCOR Water Canada. "We are pleased that Council has entrusted us to proceed with this innovative project in a manner that respects the community, environment, and history, while allowing us to uphold our commitments to green our operations."
Over the past year, EPCOR has made significant improvements to the solar farm project based on community feedback, including enlarging the wildlife corridor by 25 percent and expanding habitat and public parkland. The project footprint has also been reduced from 62 acres to 51 acres.
Throughout the process, we heard from many Edmontonians with a clear passion for the river valley," added Bradford. "This is a passion we share, and we are committed to both protecting and honoring these lands."
Through this project, EPCOR will also transfer 31.5 acres of land from the E.L. Smith WTP site to the City of Edmonton, so the City can pursue its plan to extend and improve the recreational trail network around the solar farm site.
The land where the solar farm will be situated was formerly part of Enoch Cree Nation's reserve land. On September 1, Enoch Cree Nation and EPCOR signed a memorandum of understanding to signify a shared commitment to working together in the spirit of reconciliation and collaboration. Enoch Cree Nation formally supported the solar farm project through a Council motion.
Final design of the solar farm is expected to be completed in 2020, with construction beginning in 2021 and final completion in 2022. Once commissioned, the solar farm will make clean water with clean energy and achieve tangible and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while bringing substantial benefits to the community.