05. Meet Dan Balaban - Alberta's wind energy cowboy
Blog: Dan Balaban, the CEO of Greengate Power, is not your typical wind energy entrepreneur
The small, sleepy town of Halkirk, Alberta is home to 121 people. Its biggest claim to fame is being the birthplace of longtime NHLer Shane Doan. Well that and the yearly Halkirk Bullarama, where cowboys take their turn on some pretty rank bulls.
But it’s a different kind of cowboy that has shaken the town up. For the next two years the population of Halkirk will more than double as around 200 workers build the massive 150 megawatt Halkirk wind project.
That’s the kind of effect a wind energy cowboy can have on a town.
Dan Balaban is the president of Greengate Power and a wind energy entrepreneur. He has gone from no experience in renewable energy to cutting deals for the largest wind farms in Canada in five years.
He’s brash, bold and confident and he’s pulling off big projects in a province that doesn’t have any subsidies and has an electrical grid dominated by coal.
“This is the third business that I’ve started up so it’s not my first rodeo,” says Balaban.
A dedicated entrepreneur Balaban got his start running a software company that helped oil and gas companies manage everything from inventory to greenhouse gas emissions. When he sold his company he knew the next thing he wanted to do was in the green space. That was when he started Greengate Power, a privately held wind developer.
You’d think going from the oil business to the wind business would be like trading easy money for a fruit stand in the Okanagan, but Balaban says wind is big business.
“The green industry is one of the best business opportunities of the next decade. In wind energy alone it’s been estimated there’s going to be over a trillion dollars invested in wind energy and related infrastructure over the next decade.”
You don’t get rich opening another neighborhood laundromat and Balaban wasn’t interested in developing just another wind farm. While many other wind companies were wrestling over limited space and transmission capacity in the windy Pincher Creek corridor of Alberta, Greengate headed up the highway in the opposite direction. More…
Video: The winds of change are blowing - Learn about the entrepreneur behind the biggest wind project in Canada
Podcast: An innovative approach to wind energy development
Greengate Energy isn't a typical wind developer and they've proven it in their business practices. Instead of locating their windfarms in the windy Pincher Creek area their first project was sited in central Alberta near Halkirk. The reason? Access to transmission lines. Near Pincher Creek access to transmission lines is backed up, near Halkirk? Not a problem.
Podcast: The winds of change - A brief profile of Dan Balaban
Greengate Energy is the third company that Dan Balaban has founded. A private wind energy developer that works exclusively in Alberta he's behind Alberta's biggest wind project called Halkirk One. This 150 megawatt project will be doubled in size by his next one called Blackspring Ridge One.
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