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October 6, 2003
Atco Power opens its first hydropower facility on Oldman R
CALGARY, ALTA-Atco Power last week officially opened its emission-free, 32-megawatt (MW) Oldman River hydroelectric generating facility. Capable of generating green power for approximately 25,000 homes, the $34-million Oldman River project is the company's first-ever hydroelectric project and its first electricity generating facility in southern Alberta. "This project is an excellent example of green power. It turns the 'run-of-river' water from an existing dam into new clean power for Albertans," said Nancy Southern, president and CEO of the Atco Group of Companies. The official opening included remarks from Alberta Premier Ralph Klein and Peter Strikes With a Gun, Chief of the Piikani Nation, which is considering an option to purchase one-quarter of the project. Members of the Piikani Nation from nearby Brocket joined in the opening of the plant with a traditional peace-pipe ceremony. Alberta Environment, which owns the dam, awarded Atco Power the right to develop the project as a result of an open competition for proposals. The department will receive long-term rental fees and will retain full control over water levels and releases. Operation of the power project will not affect the water levels in the reservoir. Power will be generated year round, but predominantly during periods of high water availability, generally May through September. In other green power initiatives Atco Power and SaskPower International announced plans to build up to 150 MW of wind power in Saskatchewan (ELW September 15).