Competitive Bid / EIA Requests of Premier Clearly Pointless

Well, given Premier Stelmach’s recent announcement, it’s probably pointless to hope he might do right by Albertans by demanding an open competitive bidding process or even an Environmental Impact Assessment for the Heartland Transmission Project let alone an independent needs assessment.

But the good news is that we now have a whole new crop of hopefuls who want to lead the PC’s into the next election.  New leaders? New parties? New choices!  Make sure you tell them what is important, not just for the Heartland line, but for all of the other transmission lines being foisted on Albertans under the dubious name “Critical Transmission Infrastructure.”

So far as we can tell the government has been completely unable to find one credible party to put their hand up and say they need more power.  We’re currently slated to nearly double the transmission capacity in the province (without having the power to energize the consequent transmission lines) in the face of roughly flat energy consumption over the last several years.

“But what about the future?” they cry.  Well, here’s the facts:  People and industry are becoming more conscious of energy conservation and supply continues to outstrip demand. The phantom “huge power need” of the Heartland Upgraders (who actually generate surplus power) has gone away.  There are much smarter options like building the power generation near where it’s needed (oh, that’s right, they don’t actually know where it’s needed).  There are clearly better methods of delivering energy to Albertans than burning coal in the middle of the province and shipping the energy through inefficient transmission lines ($220M lost in 2008) often to British Columbia because we can’t turn the coal-fired plants off at the flick of a switch.  They’re proposing to build enough infrastructure to support double the province’s population.  And you’re expected to pay for all this on your utility bill, even though, in their own estimation, only 15% of the Heartland Line’s capacity will be used until at least 2027.

Is there some mass immigration we are unaware of?  Are all the cancelled upgraders (who would have an energy surplus) suddenly going to come back to life and require massive amounts of power?  Is there, in fact, any credible reason we are supposed to embark on this massive infrastructure build?  Or is this just another chapter in the never ending saga of transmission company and government “collaboration”.

Perhaps the 214 birds per kilometre per year which would be killed by the Heartland Line wouldn’t mind if it was buried.  (Incidentally, that’s around 14,000 birds per year versus the 2,000 that got killed in the Syncrude tailings ponds.)

Perhaps a more enlightened government wouldn’t build unnecessary infrastructure and wouldn’t endanger our children’s health and safety or destroy our property values only to further corporate greed.  Well, the good news is we live in a democracy and you get to decide.

Perhaps its time we held our political servants – that’s right, we are the bosses – accountable for their actions.

~ by RETA on January 27, 2011.

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