Hanna Region transmission development project ramps up

ATCO Electric is shifting into high gear on its Hanna region transmission development (HRTD) project.

On July 31, it was announced that the utility had selected Valard Construction, a Quanta Services (NYSE:PWR) company, to install approximately 240 kilometers (149 miles) of 240-kV transmission infrastructure in the Hanna, Alberta region, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) east of Calgary.

The selection follows the May 8 approval by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) of the utility’s facilities applications for eight projects that are contiguous to each other in an area extending east from the towns of Drumheller to Oyen, then north to the area of Pemukan and Consort in Alberta. Among other things, the AUC’s order determined where the transmission lines would run.

The HRTD project covers a broad geographic area and consists of ten smaller projects. Work began in 1Q12 in two discrete project areas that are separate from the other eight: one east of Red Deer, Alberta, and a second north of Drumheller.

Overall, the HRTD project includes adding approximately 245 kilometers (152 miles) of new 240-kV transmission lines; constructing approximately 110 kilometers (68 miles) of new 144-kV transmission line and right-of-way (ROW); constructing six new substations and one static vars compensator (SVC); upgrading 15 existing substations; and salvaging approximately 190 kilometers (118 miles) of existing 144-kV and 72-kV transmission lines and related equipment.

Work has been completed on a 144-kV transmission line in the Rowley area and that line has been energized, a source familiar with the project told TransmissionHub on July 31. A small section of 240-kV line near Oakland is also nearing completion, the source said.

The need for the project was proposed by the Alberta Electric System Operator and approved by the AUC in April 2010.

The need stems from population and industrial growth in the region, the source said, noting that Alberta is “continuing to grow quite extensively,” and that growth is causing increased load growth on ATCO’s system.

The project is estimated to cost C$765m (US$764.1m) and is expected to be placed in service during 2Q13. ATCO Electric is part of ATCO Group (TSX:ACO).