PLANNING AHEAD - Red Deer City council gave administration the green light to move forward with an electrical infrastructure capital plan that addresses both the strengthening of public and private infrastructure to enable the community to resist climate change while meeting the electrical demand challenges that are imminent in the changing transportation sector. Express file photo

City to look at planning for electrical challenges due to storms

Red Deer City council moves forward with an electrical infrastructure capital plan

The City of Red Deer is looking at better preparing its infrastructure in the face of unexpected storms.

Councillor Paul Harris brought forth his Notice Of Motion in the wake of recent events, like that of the wind storm that hit the City in June.

His motion, which passed unanimously, will see administration bring forward an electrical infrastructure capital plan that addresses both the strengthening of public and private infrastructure to enable the community to resist climate change while meeting the electrical demand challenges that are imminent in the changing transportation sector.

Administration will also consider electricity generation and storage solutions that mitigate electrical fluctuations resulting from factors outside municipal control. A preliminary report will also be brought to council in conjunction with the 2018 capital budget with detail plans in subsequent capital budgets.

Harris said as a result of his motion, he sees more focus on what could happen and the kinds of events the City is going to face.

“If we can be more careful and more methodical on our planning and what we need to do to change our City over the next number of years,” he said, adding those are all capital items that need to come forward in the coming budget and subsequent budgets.

He said the City is currently looking at a number of energy generation possibilities.

“City Manager Craig Curtis mentioned our co-generation plant at the wastewater treatment plant, and we’re looking at some methane capture at the landfills. There’s also some solar energy happening at the City yards right now,” he said.

He added the last storm that hit Red Deer wasn’t a big storm when thinking about the ice storm that occurred in Quebec a couple of years ago.

“That would take a lot of our infrastructure out right now. Our newer neighbourhoods may be a little bit better, but when you think of the number of power lines that run to those newer neighbourhoods, those would all collapse.”

He said with the older neighbourhoods that still have the wooden telephone poles with power running overhead, they would be all out in an ice storm like that.

“So we could take 60, 70 per cent of our City out in an ice storm like there was in Quebec.”

With many citizens out for a number of days in the last storm that hit Red Deer, the damage to electrical infrastructure, although preliminary, was between $500,000 to $1 million.