Energy firm backed by Warren Buffett to build a $150 million wind farm in Canada

Key Points
  • Construction work on the Rattlesnake Ridge Wind project will start next year. 
  • While oil is a significant cog in Alberta's economy, renewable energy projects are also being developed there.
Tali Aiona | Getty Images

Construction work on a 117.6-megawatt (MW) wind farm in the oil-rich province of Alberta, Canada, will start next year.

In an announcement Tuesday, BHE Canada — a wholly owned subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Energy — said the Rattlesnake Ridge Wind project would generate "enough energy to supply the equivalent of 79,000 homes."

Costing over 200 million Canadian dollars ($151.2 million), the scheme is being privately financed by BHE Canada using equity and debt. The firm added that a "large Canadian corporate partner" had inked a "long-term power purchase agreement" for most of the energy produced by the project.

"The Rattlesnake Ridge Wind project is a leader in the development of new grid-scale wind generation in Alberta, being constructed and operated without government subsidies," William Christensen, BHE Canada's vice president for corporate development, said in a statement.

It's expected that the wind farm will produce 475 gigawatt hours annually, with generation for the Albertan grid expected to commence in December 2021. Energy firm RES will develop the project, supplying construction and asset management services.

Robert Hornung, the Canadian Wind Energy Association's president, commented that Alberta's "unique combination of wind resource, open market structure and emerging climate policy" made it possible to "secure low-cost power for the Alberta grid."

"That in turn provides an incredible opportunity for significant investments in the wind energy industry while also presenting Albertans with diverse economic opportunities," Hornung added.

While oil is a significant cog in Alberta's economy — its oil sands are home to the world's third-largest oil reserves, according to its government — renewable energy projects are also being developed there.

In August, the Alberta Utilities Commission granted approval for the construction and operation of a 400-megawatt solar facility in Vulcan County, Alberta.

The firm involved in the project, Greengate Power, said construction on the Travers Solar project would start in 2020, with commercial operations slated for 2021, adding that the facility could supply electricity to over 100,000 homes.