AUC Hearing Date Set
The AUC has set the official start date of the hearing process for the Heartland Transmission Project to be April 11, 2011.
AUC Application Filed
The Heartland Transmission Project team filed its facility application to the Alberta Utilities Commission on September 27, 2010. The end result was as expected: the line is recommended to be constructed along the east TUC route and options relating to line burial and use of "monopoles" was effectively nixed, for reasons that appear mainly to be budget related.
Read the project team's official media release here: http://www.heartlandtransmission.ca/upload/file/09-28-2010%20HEARTLAND%20APP.pdf
For further information from the AUC, please check this link:http://www.auc.ab.ca/items-of-interest/heartland-transmission-project/Pages/default.aspx
You can download a copy of the executive summary of the application and read more about the process from the Heartland Transmission Project website here: http://www.heartlandtransmission.ca/new/faq.asp?ID=20
The September newsletter can be downloaded here.
According to the project's website, they are ready to file their Facility Application to the AUC. The routes have been "refined" to reduce potential impacts, "such as proximity to proximity to residences, farm operations, and/or environmental constraints".
AUC Update August 3
The Alberta Utilities Commission has issued an update that confirms the fall 2010 application for the Heartland Transmission Project. Based on the project's July newsletter, EPCOR and AltaLink plan to recommend an above ground line, despite having investigated an option for partial line burial.
The July newsletter can be downloaded here.
Tower Information Sessions will be held at various locations along the proposed and alternate routes during August. Their intent is to provide information and presumably get feedback on the newly proposed tower configurations, which will now range up to 239 feet high. (Details of the options for the towers can be found in the newsletter.)
Here is the schedule for these Tower Information Sessions as provided by the Heartland Transmission Project's website:
Information Centres will operate reduced hours as follows:
January 2010 Update
On January 6, 2010, the Heartland Transmission Project team announced that the preferred route would be the east TUC and the alternate route would be the west (rural). More stakeholder consultations will take place and information centres will be opened between now and April.
The Alberta Utilities Commission website has been updated with new information about what happens next. Click here to go the AUC site.
December 2009 Update
The project team released an update in the form of a newsletter and report on December 2, 2009. Click here to view our article.
The Heartland Transmission Project
What is this Project?
The Heartland Transmission Project is proposed be an overhead double circuit, 500kV transmission line with towers that would be up to 75 metres tall (246 feet or about the height of a 20 storey building). If located on the west transportation and utility corridor (TUC), these lines would be placed alongside the existing 240 kV lines already installed on the west TUC. The towers that are currently visible around Anthony Henday Drive are 85 feet and 125 feet tall.
The project has identified four potential routes for this unprecedented power line: on either of the TUCs running along the west and east side of Edmonton, and on two other rural routes farther removed on the west and the east. The original plan was to choose one route (and an alternate) at some point in the fall of 2009.
The structures being proposed have never before been erected in Alberta. There is no doubt that having a monstrosity of this size on the TUC will devalue nearby homes and properties. In addition, the safety of these towers must be questioned given that they are at the mercy of extreme weather phenomena. The long-term health risks of living near power lines of lesser voltage has long been debated with inconclusive findings. The Heartland Transmission Project, however, is advocating adding to this potential risk with the construction of another line of higher voltage if the west TUC route is chosen.
Why is this Project Needed?
We are being told that we need this power line and others to keep the lights on in Alberta. The lights are on and have been on for some time in Alberta without a double circuit 500kV power line. And the lights are on in many places much larger than Alberta without using a double circuit 500KV power line to transmit power.
We have heard that all of this infrastructure might well be overkill. Gary Holden, President and CEO of Enmax, warns us the government is "fear mongering" and that these power lines will actually be used to export power using rate payers (you, me, Alberta businesses) to cover the huge transmission costs. We have also heard that the Bruce Power Plant, approved to be built in the Peace River area, is looking for customers. If this is true and this line is being built to enable power to be exported south of the border, we want the Government of Alberta to come clean with its citizens.
Businesses in Alberta are saying the cost of all this transmission infrastructure will be the Alberta disadvantage and the burden of these costs will be passed on to consumers. So, effectively we will pay twice. Once on our utility bills and again on Alberta goods and services.
The project name, "Heartland", refers to the northeast Industrial Heartland area (otherwise known as Upgrader Alley), stretching north from Fort Saskatchewan. The explanation is that this area requires power to operate the planned upgraders being built for the oil and gas industry. If this is the truth it would be reasonable for the oil and gas industry to build local power generation or run reasonably sized power lines underground at its expense.