Heartland Power Line Not in Public Interest
Keith Wilson presented arguments October 12 to the Alberta Court of Appeal, on behalf of the Shaw family from Sturgeon County, that the Heartland Transmission Project should not go ahead (Calgary Herald).
Wilson argued the project should be put to a regulatory test as to whether it is in the public interest. The Shaw family’s appeal questions whether the Heartland line is good for the overall social and economic interests of Albertans.
The Shaw family, thousands of other homeowners and landowners, municipalities, industrial power users, businesses (including farmers), the Alberta Landowners Council, RETA, Alberta Wildrose Party, Alberta Liberal Party, Alberta NDP and many others have repeatedly pointed out the Heartland line is a massive overbuild and Alberta ratepayers will be stuck with the costs for decades. This will add to the already higher costs for electricity in Alberta than in the rest of the country. Albertans already pay twice as much for power as do residents and businesses in Saskatchewan (see this link).
The outcome of the appeal could have implications on not only the Heartland line but also on the fate of billions of dollars in new transmission lines planned by the Alberta Government, including the Western Alberta Transmission Line and Eastern Alberta Transmission Line. The controversy stems primarily from the Alberta P.C. Government’s passing of Bill 50, the Electric Statutes Amendment Act, 2009, which took away the public’s right to review the need for new transmission lines the government dubiously labelled as “critical” and unilaterally decided must be built.
The Court of Appeal judges said they would reserve their decision on the Shaw family appeal.
Wildrose Utilities Critic, Joe Anglin, indicated his support for the Shaw family appeal, and challenged Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes to release a lengthy report from an independent committee which reviewed the many problems with Alberta’s electricity pricing.