Approval received for 500M 400MW southern Alberta solar power project

CALGARY — Provincial regulators have approved a $500-million solar power project in southern Alberta that its developers say will be the largest in Canada.Privately held Greengate Power Corp. of Calgary says approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission means it can proceed with construction next year of its Travers Solar project, with full commercial operations targeted for 2021.The electricity facility is to generate as much as 400 megawatts at peak times, enough to supply more than 100,000 homes.The AUC says in its ruling that no parties opposed construction of the project in Vulcan County, about 120 kilometres southeast of Calgary.It says it is to utilize 2.5 million photovoltaic solar panels erected on about 1,600 hectares of mainly cultivated cropland.Greengate also developed the 300-MW Blackspring Ridge Wind Project, located about 10 kilometres from the Travers project, which is now owned by French firm EDF EN and Enbridge Inc. of Calgary.Greengate CEO Dan Balaban says the solar project is not one of those backed by a long-term guaranteed power price under an auction program developed by the previous Alberta NDP government.“Our plan is to finance this project on a subsidy-free, market basis,” he said in an interview.“We’re selling the project into the Alberta power pool and we’ll be realizing whatever pricing there is at the time. Our forecast for pricing on a go-forward basis is based largely on the phase-out of coal-fired electricity (by 2030), continued electrical growth in the province and carbon pricing.” Companies mentioned in this article: (TSX:ENB)The Canadian Press read more

Ugandas antihomosexuality bill has serious human rights implications – UNAIDS

The bill, passed by the Ugandan Parliament on 20 December, calls for a 14-year jail term for a first conviction and imprisonment for life for the offence of “aggravated homosexuality.”“I strongly urge the Ugandan authorities to reject the bill and ensure the human rights and dignity of all people in Uganda,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).“Uganda was the first country in Africa to break the conspiracy of silence on AIDS – and to give voice to the most marginalized – but now I am scared that this bill will take Uganda backwards, relinquishing its leadership role in the AIDS response,” Mr. Sidibé added. The bill also has public health implications, UNAIDS, said citing studies which show that when gay people face discrimination including abuse, incarceration and prosecution, they are less likely to seek HIV testing, prevention and treatment services.In 2012, there were 1.5 million people living with HIV in Uganda and 140,000 new HIV infections, UNAIDS reported.Globally, gay men are around 13 times more likely to become infected with HIV than the general population, emphasizing the urgent need to ensure safe access to HIV prevention and treatment services for all people everywhere.In today’s statement, the UN agency urged all Governments “to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people through repealing criminal laws against adult consensual same sex sexual conduct.”UNAIDS also called on authorities to implement laws to protect people from violence and discrimination, to promote campaigns that address homophobia and transphobia, and to ensure access to health services including HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has decried the bill, noting that it would have a detrimental effect not only on the fundamental rights of LGBT members of Ugandan society but also on the work of human rights defenders and efforts to address HIV/AIDS in the country.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed for the complete and universal decriminalization of homosexuality, still a criminal offence in some 76 countries, stressing that human rights must always trump cultural attitudes and societal strictures. read more