Responsible Electricity Transmission for Albertans
Heartland Power Line Not Needed
First, Premier Redford was quoted this week in theCalgary Heraldas stating that the Heartland transmission line is necessary. More recently, the Sherwood Park News reports that Sherwood Park MLA Iris Evans has also indicated the proposed Heartland line is needed. The facts suggest otherwise.
The proponents of the Heartland Transmission Project, AltaLink and EPCOR, indicate in their facility application to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) that a whopping 85% of the capacity of this proposed line will not be used until 2027, and then 70% of its capacity will not be used thereafter. Whether you’re an electrical engineer or not, the obvious question is, “Why then is this massive double-circuit 500 kilovolt power line being proposed?” The line, with towers up to 77 metres tall (253 feet) would be the largest power line ever built in Alberta, with negative impacts not ever experienced before in our province.
The reason both the Alberta Government and the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) have given for building the Heartland line is the new tar sands upgraders in the Industrial Heartland will need the power. Well, in 2008, nine upgraders were planned – now there is only one. The real irony is, any tar sands upgraders that might get built in the Industrial Heartland will co-generate their own electricity, so will not require the dirty coal-fired electricity from Wabamun that the proposed Heartland line would transmit. Again, the obvious question is, “Why then is the Heartland line deemed necessary by the Alberta Government and the AESO?”
Hopefully, the upcoming decision by the AUC will reflect the facts presented at the Heartland hearing that lasted from April 11 to May 18, 2011. The facts clearly indicate that the Heartland Transmission Project is not needed. However, if this line is built, it must be buried when it runs close to homes, schools, daycares, hospitals and environmentally sensitive areas.