Ten related electric transmission projects that will improve interconnections for wind energy facilities and oil pipelines in the Hanna region of Alberta were approved by provincial utilities regulators.
The facilities, proposed by AltaLink LP, identified in the Alberta Utilities Commission's May 8 order as AltaLink Management Ltd., and ATCO Ltd. subsidiary ATCO Electric Ltd., include approximately 300 kilometers of contiguous transmission line that will connect the Provost area to the area around Oyen and west to the Drumheller area. Approximately 24 kilometers of transmission line will interconnect new facilities with existing facilities in Sheerness, Oyen and Monitor.
ATCO plans to begin construction of substations in May and the line in June, and will have three construction camps completed at that time, an ATCO spokeswoman said May 15.
The need for the transmission projects was approved by the AUC two years ago in support of a forecast by the Alberta Electric System Operator that 700 MW of wind generation would need connections to the grid by 2017. Further amendments to the needs identification document were approved in June 2011, and the 10 projects were taken up as one proceeding in November 2011.
The AUC approved the plans after determining, as required, that the proposed projects are in the public interest, taking into account the social, environmental and economic effects of the projects. The projects were assigned to AltaLink and ATCO as the transmission facilities operators in the region; nine will be handled by ATCO and one by AltaLink. According to the order, the estimated combined cost of the projects is C$660 million.
In approving the needs document, the AUC noted that in addition to the 700 MW of forecast wind generation, 105 MW may be needed for two TransCanada Corp. pump stations as part of its proposed Keystone XL pipeline to transmit oil to the U.S.
The projects the AUC approved include six new substations, alteration of three substations, five new 240-kV lines, six new 144-kV lines, and alteration of some 144-kV and 72-kV lines, commission spokesman Jim Law said. (Decision 2012-120)
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(Originally published May 16, 2012, on SNL Power Daily with Market Report.)