05. Meet Dan Balaban - Alberta's wind energy cowboy

Tags: Wind

Published May 24, 2012

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…

Podcast: An innovative approach to wind energy development

CKUA logoGreengate 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

CKUA logoGreengate 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.

 

 

 
Resources

These resources relate to this episode. They may be helpful in many ways, but we list them only for your information. This is not an endorsement of any of these programs, services or organizations and we make no guarantees about the products or services these companies or organizations may offer.

Ontario Landowner’s Guide to Wind Energy

Over the past several years, wind developers have been prospecting for windy sites in southern Ontario, predominantly along the shores of the Great Lakes and along the Niagara highlands as possible locations for large wind farms. In many areas rural landowners, especially farmers, have received offers to lease their land from these wind power developers. It became apparent that a written guide for landowners considering wind power development would be a valuable tool.<span > GO >

Tags: Wind

Putting wind power myths in perspective

As new opportunities emerge to develop wind-power generation in communities across Canada, they raise reasonable questions about the social, environmental and economic impacts of large-scale wind power production.

This fact sheet aims to help answer those questions, and to distill the realities of wind power from the myths and misconceptions. GO >

Tags: Wind

Landowners Guide to Wind Energy in Alberta

This guide helps landowners, companies and government understand and explain wind energy in Alberta. Whether you are a landowner negotiating with a wind power developer or a regional government looking at economic development, this guide can help you understand and get involved with the wind energy industry. The guide was written by Pembina renewable energy experts Tim Weis, Kristi Anderson and Alex Doukas and special guest author Gordon Howell. GO >

Tags: Wind

 
Extras

Greengate Power's official website

Profile of Dan Balaban - Calgary Herald

Message from the County Reeve of Paintearth No. 18, the location of the Halkrik wind project - Reeve's Message

Halkirk wind project components arriving - East Central Alberta Review