ASRA has been greatly concerned

Action Surface Rights Members,

As you are well aware, ASRA has been greatly concerned with the proliferation of inactive and Orphan Wells over the last couple of years. In fact we intervened at the Supreme Court of Canada in the Redwater affair to make sure that any leftover assets of Bankrupt Operators went to reclaim surface leases first before money went to pay off bank loans.

We have also been concerned about the types of surface leases that landowner have been signing for large Solar and Wind projects as the content of those leases are not regulated and Industry Operators are not currently required to utilize land agents in their dealings with landowners.  Many of those types of surface leases contain clauses highly detrimental to landowners.

ASRA is currently supporting Renuwell Solutions and the MD of Taber as they partner to investigate the potential of putting small scale solar projects on abandoned, or orphaned, surface lease sites.  This feasibility study is funded by a grant from Alberta’s Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (“MCCAC”) and will attempt to navigate the requirements that the Alberta Energy Regulator, the Orphan Well Association, Alberta Environment and the Surface Rights Board may impose on these types of projects.  A template will be developed, which other municipalities can also use, to satisfy the various regulatory agencies requirements and to obtain the needed distribution power company’s approval.

These types of projects will likely benefit landowners by securing annual lease payments by eliminating the requirement  to make annual applications to the SRB, paying some municipal taxes, lowering power costs for irrigation (and possibly reducing electrical distribution and transmission costs as well), preserving agricultural land, providing a more secure power supply, allowing more time to remediate contaminated surface leases and utilizing existing lease access roads, power connections and surface disturbances.  It has been projected that a 2.5 acre solar site could provide enough electricity to run 30 quarter section pivots.
These small solar projects will result in much lower disturbance that large industrial scale projects and we do not think that neighbouring landowners will see any increase in noise and light pollution, weed issues, traffic and dust, fire threats, glare, interruption of farm use of roads, environmental/wildlife problems or reclamational issues.  They will be hooked up to the existing power grid and will not require new transmission lines or substations.

Renuwell and the MD of Taber are hosting a series of Open Houses (see attachment) the last week of May in various communities in the Taber area and we would appreciate it if you could either attend an Open House or respond to this email by detailing any concerns that you might foresee about these types of small solar projects being placed on abandoned, or orphaned, surface leases sites.

Thank you,

Daryl Bennett
Director Action Surface Rights Association