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AWA supports denial of Foothills Solar Project by AUC

April 21, 2023

The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) has denied Elemental Energy’s proposed Foothills Solar Project, a 1600-acre project within the boundaries of Frank Lake Important Bird Area (IBA). AWA fully supports this decision. Solar developments can cause significant bird mortality and should avoid environmentally sensitive areas, including IBAs.

“It was gratifying to see the AUC panel wade through all the issues thoroughly and thoughtfully,” said Cliff Wallis, who testified as a Professional Biologist during the hearing, “There are numerous renewable energy projects being planned or already being built in southern Alberta. It is important that they do not cause harm to environmentally important sites like the Frank Lake Important Bird Area. It is also critical for Alberta to get on with the job of doing a thorough cumulative effects assessment or strategic environmental review to ensure that the public interest is served while these projects are being planned.”

“Frank Lake is internationally recognized for its significance to nesting and migrating birds,” said Ruiping Luo, AWA Conservation Specialist, “Development in this region poses a huge risk to the bird and wildlife populations that frequent the lake and surrounding area.”

While AWA supports the development of renewable energy, development should not come at the expense of vulnerable species and habitats. The Foothills Solar Project failed to follow best practices for solar energy development respecting wildlife and sensitive landscapes.

For more information contact: Ruiping Luo, Alberta Wilderness Association (, 403-283-2025)

The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need – if only we had the eyes to see.
- Edward Abbey
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