The Alberta Utilities Commission on Jan. 18 granted Shell Canada Ltd. yet more time to complete construction of the 160-MW Jackpine Mine power plant, which would be a gas-fired cogeneration project.
Under a previously-extended deadline, the commission had established Dec. 31, 2015, as the date to complete the project. Shell requested consideration under the commission’s interim extension provision due to the short amount of time between the filing of the December 2015 extension application and the stipulated construction completion date. On Dec. 29, 2015, the commission granted Shell an interim extension until the Jan. 18 final decision was made on this time extension application.
Shell stated the time extension is required because the Jackpine Mine Expansion project is awaiting Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act approval and Water Act authorization. Shell requested an extension to complete construction of the power plant by Dec. 31, 2017. This timing was based on its expectation that the assessment of consultation adequacy report, required for the Alberta Energy Regulator to issue the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and Water Act authorizations, will be issued in 2016, after which time Shell would file its construction plans for the generation facilities.
The commission had concerns with a further time extension given that the power plant was originally approved in 2004, construction had not started, and the project area may have changed and require updates. The commission also has an active application for the expansion of the Jackpine Mine power plant. That expansion would add an additional 115 MW of generation. That other proceeding is currently on hold awaiting an updated application from Shell.
Shell said these two projects would be located in close proximity within Shell’s Jackpine Mine mineral surface lease, and that construction of the 160-MW power plant would not commence before receiving approval for the 115-MW expansion.
While a significant amount of time has passed from Shell’s initial approval of the Jackpine Mine power plant, the commission said it can obtain updates on the surrounding area when Shell files its updated application in the plant expansion proceeding. Shell has also committed not to commence construction of the plant until it obtains approval for the expansion. A notice of application was not issued for this application as the power plant has not begun construction, and is located within Shell’s Jackpine Mine mineral surface lease. The commission approved the time extension to Dec. 31, 2017, for the completion of the 160-MW Jackpine Mine plant.