AltaLink identifies route for transmission line

After thousands of conversations with stakeholders, AltaLink has pinpointed preferred and alternate routes for the Western Alberta Transmission Line project.

The proposed Direct Current transmission line will connect the Genesee area west of Edmonton to the Langdon area east of Calgary. The preferred route runs west of Red Deer and parallels 220 kms of existing transmission lines.

The current transmission system connecting the Edmonton area to southern Alberta is about 38 years old, say officials. Adding about one million to Alberta’s population since then has doubled consumption, so officials said replacing the ageing system isn’t an option.

“We believe the preferred route is the best solution for this project after analyzing all the potential options in the area,” said Leigh Clarke, senior vice president of external engagement with AltaLink.

“We completed extensive studies and field work and spoke with thousands of landowners to help us determine the route with the lowest overall impact.”

He said the route has a low residential and environmental impact and crosses the least amount of cultivated land.

Since last January, AltaLink has had more than 4,500 conversations with stakeholders about the project through 23 open houses, said Clarke. There have also been 15 information centres set up.

Open houses were held in Red Deer and other Central Alberta communities last February and March. Clarke said the process of touching base with landowners isn’t about to end.

“We will continue to have conversations and gather feedback from stakeholders as this project continues.”

AltaLink will include an alternate route, which is located east of Red Deer in its application to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC).

The alternate route only parallels about 50 km of existing transmission line and has an increased environmental impact.

Clarke said AltaLink plans to file its application early in 2011. If approved, construction could start in the summer of 2012.

mweber@reddeerexpress.com

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