ATCO Electric in conjunction with AltaLink has been visiting communities in the east central Alberta area as the Central East Transfer-Out Project begins gaining traction.
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) was the entity to identify the area as a high priority as the current transmission system has an aging infrastructure and is reaching its capability limits.
Four potential routes are being proposed for what will eventually be narrowed down to two or even a single route.
The project is still in the early stages but as required by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) the companies involved must conduct public consultation.
AltaLink and ATCO Electric are partnering up to create this new structure.
So far, they have held open houses Halkirk, Stettler and Alix.
“We are excited to be here to talk to people in the community,” began Amanda Sadleir, Senior Communications Advisor for AltaLink. “When we are developing projects like this we know that the people that live in the area know the land the best.
“We can come out and really get a sense of the community, what people have to say, and what their thoughts are about the project.”
If approved, the project involves approximately 55 kilometres to 60 kilometres of new 240 kilovolts (kV) transmission line connecting the Gaetz Substation, located east of the City of Red Deer, to a new ATCO electric line, located southeast of the Village of Alix.
AltaLink will also install new equipment at the Gaetz Substation and acquire additional land south of the substation property to accommodate future developments.
ATCO Electric is also planning to coordinate a portion of the project in its service area at 80 kilometres (km) in length which connects to AltaLink.
They are proposing to add two staged 240 kV transmission lines between the service territory boundary near Alix and Nevis and the existing Tinchebray substation near Halkirk, Ab. to help reinforce and upgrade the transfer out capability of the transmission system to the rest of Alberta’s interconnected system.
The Tinchebray Substation is also potentially being renovated.
Both companies take several factors into consideration in an effort to find a route with low overall environmental, social and economic effects.
In addition to stakeholder input, they also consider agricultural, residential, environmental and visual impacts, as well as cost.
The total project length between the two companies is roughly 140 km.
“Right now we are in a very preliminary stage of the project so we actually have a lot of different options that we are looking at for not only the routes but the actual structures as well,” said Sadleir.
“That’s what we are doing right now is getting input from people on the different structure types and different routes and then we take that information back and we will be able to refine those options.”
Consultation is expected to take place until November.
In December, both companies will submit an individual application to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) who will review by way of public process.
They plan to start building the first stage around 2021 to 2023 if approved.