Expert Panel Endorses Construction of Two Alberta Transmission Lines

Environmental, Energy and Resources Law

February 15, 2012

As we previously reported, upon becoming Premier last fall, Alison Redford promised that certain proposed  transmission projects which had been proposed as Critical Transmission Infrastructure would be "sent back to the drawing board." 

The expert committee struck to examine the AltaLink proposed West Alberta Transmission Line, and the ATCO proposed East Alberta Transmission Line reported back to the government on Tuesday. 

In short, the panel recommended that both projects proceed as quickly as possible.

The panel's findings were as follows:

  • The Alberta Electric System Operator's economic, load and generation forecasts used to forecast the need for the transmission were reasonable.
  • The AESO’s recommendation to proceed with the development of two 500 kV transmission lines was reasonable
  • The AESO’s decision to use high voltage direct current technology was reasonable.
  • The government should proceed with the development of the two 500 kV HVDC transmission lines as soon as possible
  • The Electric Utilities Act should be amended to grant the Alberta Utilities Commission (not cabinet) the authority to designate Critical Transmission Infrastructure
  • The AUC should consider options that will mitigate the impact of the cost of new transmission infrastructure to consumers.
  • competitive procurement process should be used for future Critical Transmission Infrastructure

Energy Minister Ted Morton has stated that he intends to respond to the report by the end of the month.

A copy of the full report can be found here