Alberta commission kind of okays 197-MW addition to Calgary Energy Centre

The Alberta Utilities Commission on June 30 provisionally approved an application from Calgary Energy Centre No. 2 Inc. (CEC2) to construct and operate a 197-MW power plant called the Calgary Energy Centre Expansion.

The commission found that the power plant is in the public interest and approved it. However, a Class A2 adjustment for purposes of determining the permissible sound level under Rule 012 was denied pending an outside approval.

CEC2, a subsidiary of ENMAX Generation Portfolio Inc., which is a subsidiary of ENMAX Energy Corp., applied in December 2015 with the commission for approval to construct and operate this 197-MW, natural gas-fired power plant in the Calgary area.

On April 1, 2016, Maxim Power Corp. filed a statement of intent to participate in the proceeding. Maxim submitted that it would be unfairly disadvantaged by approval of the application, because ENMAX enjoys competitive advantages through its association with the City of Calgary. CEC2 filed a response to Maxim’s statement of intent to participate and argued that Maxim had raised this issue previously in the Shepard Energy Centre proceeding. CEC2 indicated that the commission had denied Maxim standing in that proceeding, and this decision was upheld by the Alberta Court of Appeal. It further submitted that the relevant legislation has not changed in any material way since that decision. The commission eventually denied standing to Maxim in this case.

The proposed power plant would be located at the site of the existing Calgary Energy Centre, a 320-MW, natural gas-fired plant, located adjacent to Stoney Trail and 68th Street N.E, in the Calgary area. CEC2 is the owner and operator of the Calgary Energy Centre. In its application, CEC2 stated that the new project would consist of three natural gas-fired generators that would have a maximum capability of 197 MW. It submitted that it had not confirmed the exact type or size of generator and that it was considering between the 45-MW General Electric LM6000 PF model, the 45-MW GE LM6000 PH model and the 66-MW Rolls-Royce Trent 60 model. It stated that the power plant would consist of three generators and would have a total capability between 135 MW and 197 MW.

CEC2 stated that all modelling and studies conducted for the application reflected the maximum impact based on the three-turbine 197-MW maximum total output configuration. However, CEC2 updated this information in response to information requests. It confirmed that the application was for a power plant consisting of three 66-MW generators. CEC2 acknowledged that in the event that the commission issued an approval and CEC2 decided to use different generators with a different capability, that it would file an application to amend the power plant approval. CEC2 indicated that the power plant would be a peaker, designed to meet periods of high demand and that it would operate approximately 15%  to 45% of the time.

A noise study for the proposed power plant was based on the continuous operation of three 66-MW Rolls-Royce Trent 60 natural-gas fired generators operating at 100% capability.

The commission said that the non-approved noise issue is up to the province’s Minister of Energy to resolve. “For the reasons stated herein, the Commission is of the view that approval of the Calgary Energy Centre Expansion is in the public interest, having regard to all its attributes except for the Section 95 level playing field issue. With respect to this one outstanding issue, the Court of Appeal has made it clear that the Commission can fulfill its mandate to have regard for the purposes of the Electric Utilities Act by ensuring that CEC2 has complied with Section 95 of that act. In the Commission’s view, CEC2 must provide the Commission with evidence that the Minister has authorized it to hold an interest in the Calgary Energy Centre Expansion in order to demonstrate compliance with that section. This conclusion is consistent with the past practices of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and the Commission, the ruling from this application on standing, the Court of Appeal’s decision, and the views of CEC2 itself.

“As of the date of this decision, CEC2 has not provided the Commission with the Minister’s authorization. Absent this missing evidence, the Commission is not prepared to issue an approval to construct and operate the power plant. Accordingly, the Commission directs CEC2 to file the Minister’s authorization pursuant to Section 95 of the Electric Utilities Act with the Commission following its receipt of that document. The Commission will then issue an approval for the project.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.