Last week, the Alberta Utilities Commission announced that it had approved the construction by ATCO Electric Ltd. of the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line.
The EATL has had an interesting path to regulatory approval, which is detailed here. The line was initially designated as Critical Transmission Infrastructure, meaning that the government had decided to bypass the hearing on the need for the facility usually required for new transmission. The hearings into the routing of the line were delayed for several months while an expert panel reviewed that decision, with the panel ultimately concluding that the line was required. More recently, the government has decided to do away with the Critical Transmission Infrastructure designation for new projects, so that all new projects will again undergo a hearing on the needs assessment.
The EATL is expected to cost $1.6 billion and will join the Gibbons area north of Edmonton with Brooks in southeast Alberta. Approximately 175 km of the 500 km route was identified by landowners and others as the prefered routing alternative in the course of consultation and in public hearings.
Construction may begin immediately. The line is expected to be in service by November, 2014.