The proposed Foothills Solar Project solar farm by Elemental Energy Renewables has been turned down by the Alberta Utilities Commission.

The report, which can be viewed in its entirety here, was released on Thursday April 20.

The AUC has turned down the proposal for a 1,500-acre solar farm just north of Frank Lake, which is just south of the town of Blackie. It would consist of 435,000 ground-mounted photovoltaic panels along with the infrastructure that would accompany that. 

One of the reasons given for the denial was the possible negative effects on the migratory bird populations at Frank Lake.

The Commission stated that it was not in the public interest to approve the project in accordance with sections 11, 14, 15 and 19 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act.

The planned project was set to start construction this summer with completion due at the end of 2024.

Five different partiers opposed the project including the Frank Lake Concerned Citizens group (FLCC), Foothills County, Greg Wagner (long-time volunteer caretaker of Frank Lake IBA - Important Bird and Biodiversity Area), Nature Calgary and Canada Wildlife Services, Environment and Climate Change Canada.

It was noted in the report that the Frank Lake area is home to 256 bird species, included 60 species at risk that are known to frequent the area with a total of over 24,000 individual birds. 

Approximately 80 per cent of the proposed solar farm would also fall within the IBA restricted area of 1000 metres.