An application from AltaLink for two large-scale powerline projects within the east central region has been submitted to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) as of Dec. 11, 2020.
The proposed project in the Provost/Wainwright/Vermilion areas called the Provost to Edgerton and Nilrem to Vermilion (PENV) Transmission Development is expected to include approximately 45-60 kilometres of new 240 kilovolt (kV) transmission line from an area west of the Town of Provost to an area north of the Village of Edgerton as well as modifications at the existing Hansman Lake and Edgerton substations if approved by the AUC.
AltaLink’s portion of the proposed PENV Transmission Development is located in Flagstaff County, the Municipal District (MD) of Wainwright, the MD of Provost, the County of Minburn and the County of Vermilion River.
The construction of the Provost to Edgerton development will be staged to align with generation and need milestones in the area. It includes two separate developments.
For the Nilrem to Vermilion portion, approximately 70-80 kilometres of new 240 kV transmission line from the Nilrem Substation (located southeast of the Town of Hardisty) will be connected to a new line being planned by ATCO Electric north of the Village of Irma.
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) identified a need for a more consistent and reliable source of electricity for this region, prompting both AltaLink and ATCO to get to work on creating this large project.
“It’s reinforcing that the electricity grid will have the energy they need when they need it,” said Amanda Sadleir, Manager of Corporate Communications for AltaLink.
“It’s all apart of the larger interconnected system but yes it does benefit the area in that the energy supply that exists in that area will be more redundant and allow it to be more reliable
Sadlier stated they have consulted approximately 400 people since October 2019 when their consultation program began.
“It’s been really helpful for us because the reason we do our consultation program is because we know the people that live and work in the area – they know the land best so we want to make sure we are talking with them and getting their feedback to help us determine the lowest overall impact solution for the transmission project,” said Sadleir.
“With 400 stakeholders, we had a lot of great conversations that helped define our route options so we really appreciate the effort and time that people in the community have and making sure their voice was heard.”
When they first began, AltaLink was able to host a couple of open houses in the fall to gather feedback from people.
Since that time with the sudden redirection from COVID-19, the energy company has still been able to get important feedback from stakeholders.
“It’s been a positive experience in that we have been able to talk to a lot of people,” said Sadleir. “Despite the fact that we had a pandemic there it didn’t really stop those conversations from happening so we’re really happy about that.”
With regards to sending their finalized project options to the AUC, Sadleir stated, “We put forward a solution for the project we believe are the best solutions based on all of the information we have received; All of the feedback we have gathered from stakeholders, ongoing engineering, field and environmental studies. We believe we have put forward some good options for the AUC to consider based on all of that information.”
Stakeholder input is still encouraged by visiting their website while the evaluation is taking place or reaching out via phone or email.
The AUC plans to hold a virtual question and answer session on Jan. 28 but participants are asked to sign up ahead of time to share their piece.
Responses will be posted on their website after the session concludes.
A decision from the AUC is expected by the summer of this year.