AltaGas Holdings Inc. was approved on Feb. 16 by the Alberta Utilities Commission for a two-year extension on a deadline to complete a 95-MW power project.
The commission in March 2015 granted an approval to construct and operate a 95-MW natural gas-fired plant and a 13.8/144-kV step-up substation, called the AltaGas Kent Energy Plant, in the Cold Lake area. A condition of that approval was that AltaGas would conduct a hydrogeologic field investigation in the first quarter of 2015. Another condition was that the construction of the power plant would be completed by May 31, 2016.
On Feb. 3 of this year, AltaGas requested approval of a two-year time extension. The commission noted that AltaGas’ engagement with the Cold Lake First Nations with respect to their concerns with the environmental protection and ecosystem, is ongoing. As a result, the hydrogeologic field investigation has yet to be conducted and the related environmental approvals have not been issued. AltaGas submitted it would continue its discussions with the Cold Lake First Nations until the issues are resolved.
AltaGas also referred to the Climate Leadership Plan recently announced by the Alberta government and how its implementation could lead to the transformation of Alberta’s electricity sector to greater reliance on renewables and natural gas-fired generation. AltaGas suggested that the 95-MW power plant could contribute to Alberta’s climate policies, however, it noted that important details of the policies have yet to be determined. Consequently, it would need additional time to evaluate the potential impacts and reassess its investment decision in relation to the project.
Based on the request, the commission granted an extension to the first quarter of 2017 to complete the hydrogeologic field investigation, and an extension to May 31, 2018, to complete construction of the power plant.
AltaGas would install two 47-MW simple-cycle natural gas-fired SPRINT turbine generators packaged by General Electric and a 13.8-kV/144-kV step-up substation, designated as the AltaGas Kent 328S substation. This would be located adjacent to the existing AltaGas Kent Energy Gas Plant. This new power plant would be operated as a peaker plant, generating approximately 200,000 MWh/year of electricity during times of high power demand. The AltaGas Kent 328S substation would be used to transform each generator’s output voltage to the transmission voltage level of 144 kV.
The project site is within the Alberta Industrial Heartland, about 2.25 kilometres southwest of the City of Cold Lake, Alberta, in the municipal district of Sturgeon County. The natural gas for the power plant will be delivered via an existing TransCanada pipeline.