Proposed solar project receives ‘positive’ response at open house

Peace Energy Cooperative held an open house for a proposed solar project set to be built one km away from Peace River on pasture land. On hand to chat with attendees were PEC staff and board members. In the front row, left-right, are PEC board director Wanda Laurin, PEC board director Keith Anderson, PEC board director Ernie Freeman, and PEC office administrator Tammy Lawrence. In the back row, left-right, are PEC ambassador Jen Ford, PEC executive director Don Pettit, Erin Gaydosh from Sora Ecological, Colin Smith, PREP project manager, Clean Collective Inc., Ron Moch, PEC solar installer, Moch Electric Ltd., and Greg Dueck, PEC solar consultant.

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Peace Energy Cooperative (PEC) held an open house to introduce Peace River residents to a proposed solar project set to be erected by the airport in Peace River.

PEC held its open house on May 4, with approximately 50 people attending.

PEC’s executive director, Don Pettit, says they were very happy with the turnout, and that overall people were very positive about the proposed project.

“There was lots of interest and lots of good questions,” says Pettit.

“People showed lots of enthusiasm and interest in being a part of it by joining the co-op or supplying services during construction,” he adds.

The Peace Energy Project is proposed as a 5-megawatt solar farm that will be located on 37 acres of pastureland one kilometre west of Peace River.

“Building should start either late this year or early next year,” says Pettit, explaining they can build in either summer or winter.

“This will help to diversify the local economy. The project will provide up to 50 short-term construction and related jobs and several long-term jobs for operations and maintenance in the fast-growing green energy sector.”

The project will also help provide additional tax revenue to the local economy and will provide clean energy that will be fed to the grid.

“This will be Western Canada’s first cooperatively owned and operated solar farm,” says Pettit.

“This will attract some provincial and national attention for the region. PREP will provide a template that will spawn other community owned clean energy projects in Alberta and beyond.”

Pettit explains that the funds for the project come largely from local investment and ownership through the PEC. The project will help to provide return on investments, jobs, and other benefits that will all stay local.

“In addition, we will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will power the equivalent of 1,200 homes with pollution-free solar energy,” Pettit says.

“Agricultural opportunities, such as sheep grazing and bee keeping are intended to be integrated into the facility,”

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