The tentative schedule of work is as follows:
- Construction of the solar farm is planned for early 2021.
- Construction and installation of the battery is expected to begin in Summer 2021.
- Completion of the solar farm and BESS project by Spring 2022.
Please note: These timelines are estimates and may change based on weather, procurement of materials, and construction conditions.
You can expect to see activity that is typical to construction, including company/contractor vehicles and equipment along E.L. Smith Road. There may be an increased presence of trucks and other industrial equipment necessary to install the solar panels, foundations and associated electrical infrastructure.
Work will create typical noise associated with construction. We will take measures to ensure we comply with the City of Edmonton's Community Standards Bylaw for Noise Control and the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) Rule 012 for Noise Control. If it is necessary to temporarily exceed acceptable noise levels, we will work with the City of Edmonton to obtain the necessary permits.
All of the proposed work will take place within EPCOR's property line and existing fence boundary. Work space will be safe and secure. All construction activities will be in accordance with the City of Edmonton bylaws, occupational health and safety requirements, as well as our own health, safety and environment procedures and guidelines.
Hours of work
We anticipate the hours of work for this project to be Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; however, occasional evening and weekend work may be required.
Of the possible project locations on our property, this site resulted in the least disturbance to existing vegetation. Currently, the project area is an empty field covered in grass, small bushes and scattered trees. In order to install the solar panels and ensure adequate sunlight, we will need to remove any trees or tall shrubs in the area shown in yellow on the map. This means removing two isolated tree stands and some scattered trees around the field perimeter. The native shrubs and grass roots in the area will be left in place and reseeded if damaged during construction activities. Trees on the riverbank and the small forest to the west of the project area will not be removed. EPCOR will replace trees removed during construction.
Land development application
In May 2017, we submitted a Land Development Application (including an Environmental Impact Assessment) to the City of Edmonton for approval to rezone the area shown in the white hatched section on this map. This land is owned by EPCOR and is currently zoned as a Metropolitan Recreation Zone ("A"). In order to build the E.L. Smith Solar Farm on this site, it will need to be rezoned to a Direct Development Control Provision (DC1) and receive approval from Edmonton City Council.
As part of the approval process, we have submitted:
- An amendment to the North Saskatchewan River Valley Area Redevelopment Plan (Bylaw No. 7188) to add the DC1 zone to include solar farm use (submitted in early 2018)
- An Municipal Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
- In support of the Land Development Application (LDA), EPCOR also submitted a Site Location Analysis and Justification Study which addresses the institutional, environmental, social, and financial aspects of the project.
The LDA review and update process is complete based on feedback we have received from the City of Edmonton. 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. For more information, read our statement.
For more information about the rezoning process, or to find out more about our proposal and previous public engagement initiatives, please visit the City websites listed below:
In early 2018, we submitted a Facility Application to the AUC for approval to build and operate the E.L. Smith Solar Farm (Proceeding Number 23418). The AUC approved our application in early 2019.
Letter of Enquiry (LOE) for the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) Project
EPCOR received approvals from the AUC for the BESS Project in August 2020.
The AUC is an independent, quasi-judicial agency that ensures the delivery of Alberta's utility services takes place in a manner that is fair, responsible and in the public interest.
For more information on the AUC's regulatory process and how you can participate in the process, visit their website.