Committee signs off on controversial power lines
By: Trevor Bacque
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012 04:03 pm
The Provincially-appointed Critical Transmission Review Committee (CTRC) gave its blessing to a pair of highly controversial transmission lines between Edmonton and Calgary, Feb. 13.
The Committee endorsed the plan to build both the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line (EATL) and the Western Alberta Transmission Line (WATL), which will pass through Rocky View County.
Under current plans, the WATL will pass just north of Crossfield. Mayor Nathan Anderson, who opposes the line, said he wasn’t pleased with the CTRC’s process.
“It’s one of those things where we have a relatively small voice on the provincial level,” he said.
“They don’t seem to take a whole lot of note of us on an individual basis.”
If approved by the government, the 220-kilometre WATL will be constructed by AltaLink, proceed from the Genesee region west of Edmonton to a Langdon-area substation.
The news was welcomed by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).
“As the organization responsible for providing Albertans with a reliable supply of electricity 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, we are pleased with the findings and recommendations included in the report,” said David Erickson, AESO president and CEO.
“Upgrades are needed in order to preserve the overall reliability of the system.”
There has been a tremendous rise in the number of people who call Alberta home, however, construction of transmission lines haven’t kept up, according to Erickson.
“Our quality of life and economic well-being, especially the maintenance and creation of jobs, depends on an adequate and reliable supply of electricity for all Albertans, now and into the future,” he said.
AltaLink was pleased with the committee’s outcome.
“The committee has recognized the importance of thinking strategically and planning carefully,” said Scott Thon, president and CEO of AltaLink.
“That is also our goal. The Western Alberta Transmission Line will directly tie together the area of the province generating the most energy to the area of the province requiring the most energy, and it does it efficiently.”
According to the CTRC, construction of both lines will cost Alberta residents an additional $3 per month on their electric bills. However, the Wildrose party, one of the critics of the plan, doesn’t agree with the assessment, saying it will cost large electricity users much more.
“There’s no cost-benefit analysis here showing that these massive transmission lines are economically viable,” said Paul Hinman, Wildrose’s energy critic.
“They will either drive industry offline or out of the province.”