ATCO continues work on proposed 500-kV Eastern Alberta Transmission Line

ATCO Group on Nov. 9 released  its “2010 Sustainability Report,” which noted that ATCO Electric, part of the ATCO Group of companies, is advancing the 500-kV Eastern Alberta Transmission Line.

The line will be about 500 kilometers long and connect a hub in the Gibbons-Redwater area northeast of Edmonton to a southeast hub in the Brooks area, according to ATCO Electric. A converter station will be built at each end of the line to convert power from AC to DC and back again.

“We have consulted more than 6,500 people as a proposed route along the less populated east side of the province was developed,” ATCO said in its report. “We will continue engaging with people as the project moves toward permitting and construction.”

The line will allow Albertans to harness wind and hydroelectric power as coal-fired plants are decommissioned in the future, ATCO said.

According to a November project status posted on ATCO Electric’s website, the Alberta Utilities Commission, in response to a request from the Alberta government, said in October that it had suspended the review process and hearing on the line until further notice.

ATCO Electric said it is committed to cooperating with the government in its review process.

Indeed, the commission said Oct. 21 that it has suspended its review process and suspended hearings for three critical transmission projects at the request of the Alberta government so that the government may consider its overall approach to critical transmission infrastructure.

Besides the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line, the commission’s action also affected the Heartland Transmission Project, which involves a substation, a 500-kV transmission line and a 240-kV transmission line to connect the facilities to the interconnected system, with route options, in the Edmonton area; as well as the Western Alberta Transmission Line, which involves a 500-kV, direct current transmission line and associated substations and converters stations, with route options, between the Genesee area and the Calgary area.

ATCO Electric noted that it filed a facility application with the commission for the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line that was registered effective March 29.

A proposed decision was issued May 31, outlining the commission process scheduling, including a public hearing to start Jan. 16, 2012.

Due to the commission’s October action, however, the Jan. 16 public hearing date is no longer applicable.

Among other things, ATCO Electric said it has filed minor route adjustments for the line with the commission, and has been negotiating agreements with landowners for right-of-way and early access in order to begin preliminary surveying and engineering activities.

According to the report, which is ATCO’s second biennial sustainability report, Alberta is expected to need over the next 30 years thousands of megawatts of new generation to replace aging facilities, improve environmental performance and meet population and economic growth. New transmission lines are also required to move more electricity from renewable sources.

Among the report’s highlights, ATCO noted in its Nov. 9 statement that its long-time injury rate declined 44%, with several of its facilities not incurring a single lost-time injury during the calendar years 2009 to 2010.

ATCO also said it is committed to substantial consultation for communities and landowners on all major projects, facilities and services.

“Our responsibility to provide opportunity and a sustainable footprint for future generations is paramount to the people of ATCO Group,” ATCO Group President and CEO Nancy Southern said in the statement.

According to the report, ATCO Electric and ATCO Gas serve more than 350 communities in Alberta.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3263 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.