True Costs of Burying Heartland Line Required

As the County of Strathcona continues to mount its attack on the controversial Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) decision to build the double-circuit 500kV Heartland Transmission Project with massive 77-metre-tall (253 ft) towers and lines next to about 5,200 homes, schools, daycares and a hospital, Mayor Linda Osinchuk wants the real costs of burying the line (see Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun and iNews 880). Only with the actual costs, based on requests-for-proposal from experts in underground cabling, can anyone honestly compare the costs of burying versus building overhead.

AltaLink and EPCOR had provided outlandish estimates of undergrounding costs to the AUC, in an attempt to suggest that it was just too expensive to even consider this technology. Estimates provided as evidence to the AUC Heartland hearing by credible experts pegged the costs to bury a 20-kilometre section of the Heartland line at only 15% more than building it overhead.

Undergrounding high voltage power lines is now a totally acceptable technology being used world-wide in countries where industry and governments care about health, safety, aesthetic and property value impacts of overhead high voltage lines. In fact, even an AESO-sponsored undergrounding study clearly shows that burying the Heartland line is technically feasible, financially feasible and reliable. Unfortunately, the AESO (Alberta Electric System Operator), AUC, Alberta Government, AltaLink and EPCOR have ignored this report.

~ by RETA on November 25, 2011.

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