CALGARY – Third-generation farmer James Praskach has been burned by the oil and gas sector and watched wicked weather pound his crops flat, but he is hoping a new kind of energy — the renewable kind — will pay dividends. The 39-year-old is part of a landowner consortium that is hosting the sprawling 300-megawatt Blackspring Ridge Wind Project in southeastern Alberta. He receives regular lease payments from the $600-million project that came online in 2014, even though none of the 166 towering wind turbines that surround his land are actually on it. His lease payments stand to rise, however, when and if the proposed 77-MW Vulcan Solar project, which won regulatory approval in 2016, is green-lighted by developer EDF Renewables Inc. The panels would cover about 400 hectares of his family’s land with nearly 300,000 photovoltaic solar panels, installed on racks designed to follow the sun. It would stand in the way of traditional grain farming of the land, but that wouldn’t have been a problem this year, Praskach says. “This year we actually had a massive storm roll through. And we had 100 per cent hail damage on all of (the Vulcan Solar lands). We had canola, peas and… Read full this story
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