Power Line Review Committee Told Lines Not Needed

You may recall that the Alberta Government established a so-called Critical Transmission Review Committee (CTRC) on December 6, 2011 to review the process used by the Alberta Government and the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) in considering north-south high voltage transmission lines (www.ctrc-ab.ca).

Meetings to hear from stakeholders selected by the Alberta Government and the CTRC will take place in Calgary January 10-12 at the Radisson Hotel Calgary Airport; and in Edmonton January 18-20 at the Ramada Conference Centre {see CBC (1), CBC (2), Calgary Herald (1), Calgary Herald (2), CBC (3), Calgary Herald (3) and Calgary Herald (4) for coverage of presentations to the CRTC}.

This Committee was established because of the controversy surrounding the proposed construction of the Western Alberta Transmission Line by AltaLink from Gibbons to Brooks and the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line by ATCO Electric from Genesee to Langdon. Many Albertans, landowner groups, industry associations and other stakeholders have argued that these two lines are not needed, are significant overbuilds, and/or should not be funded by Alberta electricity consumers because they will be used primarily for the export of electricity to the U.S. (as reported by WikiLeaks).

On October 21, 2011, Energy Minister Ted Morton and the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) indicated publicly that 3 lines would be reviewed: Western Alberta Transmission Line, Eastern Alberta Transmission Line and Heartland Transmission Project. A few short hours later, Premier Redford indicated she was surprised by Morton’s letter, stated there had been miscommunication within the government, and quickly overturned Morton’s and the AUC’s announcement by indicating that the Heartland line would not be reviewed but rather should be built. Coverage of this flip-flop by the government is included in several RETA blogs, including this one.

This latest review by the CTRC is yet another example of the Alberta Government’s gross mishandling of the entire electricity file. The Heartland line, approved by the AUC November 1, 2011 was to connect the Western Alberta and Eastern Alberta Transmission Lines. Unless both of these lines are built, the Heartland line makes no sense whatsoever. Even if both of the north-south lines were built, the Heartland line still makes no sense because there is only one rather than 9 tar sands upgraders being built in the Industrial Heartland, and any others that might get built in the future would efficiently co-generate their own power thereby precluding the need for dirty coal-fired power from Wabamun via the Heartland line.

~ by RETA on January 9, 2012.

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