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Pincher Creek investment important: Redford

As Alberta's dominance in Canada's economy grows, southern Alberta has a large part to play.

This was the message behind Premier Alison Redford's visit to Pincher Creek on Wednesday, where she met with local politicians and toured local wind farms.

Redford paid a visit to Pincher Creek's newest wind farm, owned by Alberta Wind Energy Corp. — the same firm behind the development of an adjacent facility recently purchased by Swedish furniture retailer IKEA — their first foray into the North American wind energy market.

The 20 turbine, 50 megawatt facility northeast of the Oldman Dam is set to come online in August.

IKEA owns a large portfolio of wind farms across Europe to offset its energy usage in their stores.

The electricity generated at the Pincher Creek wind farm will generate twice the amount of power consumed across each of the company's 12 Canadian stores.

Redford told media partnering with private industry to develop Alberta's power infrastructure is important, and it's up to the province to create a desirable environment for investors to want to invest in new generation projects.

"It's important to tell the story of what our public-private partnerships can look like," she said.

"Energy, whether it’s sustainable, renewable energy or some of our more conventional production will only survive with proper investment and long term planning."

She said such investment is not only important to Pincher Creek, but to the economic health of the entire province.

"As we continue to grow and become the economic engine of the country, it's not all about oil and gas," she said.

"It's agriculture, and the $77 billion per year we contribute to the Canadian economy. This part of the world is the breadbasket not only for existing markets around the world, but over the next 10 to 15 years -- most of the exporting in Canada is going to come from southern Alberta."

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