+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 2-09S

Wind Turbines on Government Lease Land

January 1, 2009
Expiry Date:
March 31, 2012
Active Status:
Cypress County
1 - Foothills-Little Bow
Accepted in Principle
Vote Results:

WHEREAS wind power turbines represent a source of clean and renewable energy; and

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta is promoting the development of renewable energy as a “Made in Alberta” solution to reducing the emissions footprint of Alberta’s oil, gas, and electrical power industries;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of Alberta grant surface rights access for the development and placement of wind power turbines on leased land as per the surface rights access granted for the development of oil and gas activities on leased land.

Member Background:

Although the oil and gas industry have unencumbered surface rights access to leased lands, the wind industry currently has no surface rights access that would allow for the development of wind power projects on leased land.  This results in large areas of the province with a strong wind resource being inaccessible for wind power project development, which also limits economic diversification in rural Alberta.  Wind power projects also pose less of a reclamation concern since the wind resource does not deplete, unlike oil and gas resources.

RMA Background:

Resolution 6-09S (Awaiting Vote): THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the provincial government to amend existing statutes and regulations to allow regional water and wastewater pipelines to be located and routed using the Surface Rights Board as a resolution process as it is in the petroleum industry.

Resolution 10-07S: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties support the recommendations of the Surface Rights Act Report; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the AAMDC Board and administration develop an implementation plan and targeted advocacy strategy pursuant to the recommendations of the Surface Rights Act Report.

Resolution ER3-06S: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties engage a stakeholder group to provide recommendations to the Government of Alberta to update the Alberta Surface Rights Act and other relevant legislation.

Resolution 12-06S:THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the provincial government to amend the Surface Rights Act to include a schedule that reflects current oil and gas prices and the potential for a change of use for the land; AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties encourage the provincial government to pursue annual compensation on all pipelines within all quarter sections.

Government Response:

Sustainable Resource Development:
Currently, the Surface Rights Act provides that the Surface Rights Board (SRB) has jurisdiction to grant right of entry orders (ROE) for power transmission lines as defined in section 1(k) of the Act.  As wind turbines are not included in the definition of power transmission lines, the SRB would not have authority to grant ROE for wind turbines.
Before granting right of entry for a power transmission line, the board requires either a permit from the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) for the power transmission line or a Certificate of Approval from the Minister under section 31 of the Water, Gas and Electric Companies Act.  The AUC determines the location of the power transmission lines.

Alberta Energy supports the development of wind power in the province where it can provide sustainable power and meet environmental requirements, social needs, and economic benefits.  The policy question relative to wind power on Crown land and how it can be implemented for the benefit of the province is being led by Sustainable Resource Development.  We expect a decision will be made during the next few months.


This resolution was initially given a status of unsatisfactory as the response from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) did not explain steps that will be taken to review wind power policies for Crown lands. However, SRD subsequently sent a letter noting that staff is currently reviewing the department’s land-use guidelines regarding the disposition of public land for long-term, permanent wind power developments.  This review is expected to be complete by early 2012, with stakeholder consultations later in that year.  The resulting guidelines will include provisions to ensure reasonable negotiations occur between lease holders and operators prior to a wind power development occurring.  The department will remain responsible for final decisions on approvals, but at this time does not intend to request a review of the Surface Rights Act to include wind power. The AAMDC Board of Directors determined that in light of this clarification, the status of this resolution would be changed to accepted in principle.

Provincial Ministries:
Energy|-|Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
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