Overhead High Voltage Power Lines are Expensive
Do you ever wonder why overhead high voltage power lines are so expensive to build? This Marketwired report on the use of helicopters to build the controversial 500 kilovolt Heartland Transmission Project helps explain why.
Anyone who has chartered a helicopter for any reason is aware of the high hourly rates charged by the helicopter charter industry. No wonder the Heartland power line is costing tens of millions of dollars more to construct than initially projected by AltaLink and EPCOR. Alberta ratepayers foot 100% of the cost of new high voltage line construction in Alberta, but have no say on the actual costs, and were not even allowed to review whether or not the Heartland line is needed.
Residents, industry and businesses continue to ask why the Heartland power line is being built with towers far taller and wider than any other 500kV line in Alberta. AltaLink, EPCOR, the AUC (Alberta Utilities Commission), AESO (Alberta Electric System Operator) and Alberta Energy are all aware that this line is a significant overbuild because the line will be energized to only 15% of its total capacity. Why then build such a massive line in the first place? The towers are also being built closer together than indicated in AltaLink’s and EPCOR’s application to the AUC. All of these factors add needlessly to the cost of the overhead Heartland line.
The Heartland line is being constructed by Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin (AltaLink’s parent company) which has been plagued with corruption scandals and other questionable activities in Canada and around the world including: Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Cambodia and Mexico. See this link for more information on scandal-plagued SNC-Lavalin.