New Alberta law gives public power on future projects

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A new bill introduced in the Alberta Legislature would ensure that all future transmission line projects require complete review and approval by the Alberta Utilities Commission AUC, not the provincial cabinet. Bill 8, the Electric Utilities Amendment Act, 2012, is based on input from Albertans and a direct response to a key recommendation in the Critical Transmission Review Committee CTRC report, which the province accepted in February of this year.

“We’ve listened to Albertans and we have responded,” said Ken Hughes, Minister of Energy. “This amendment ensures that Albertans have an opportunity to share their perspectives on the need for transmission infrastructure, and that decisions about the construction of future transmission lines will be made by an independent agency.

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Under the Electric Statutes Amendment Act, 2009, the government approved the need for four critical transmission infrastructure projects. These included the Heartland transmission line, the Edmonton to Fort McMurray transmission lines, reinforcement lines between Edmonton and Calgary north-south lines, and a Calgary substation. These projects will all continue as planned however, all new projects will be subject to the AUC needs-assessment process. In its report, the CTRC reaffirmed the need for the north-south projects.

The AUC process provides the opportunity for public participation in the application process to help ensure decisions are in the best interest of Alberta.

“Alberta needs strong transmission as our province continues to grow,” added Hughes. “Allowing the electricity regulator to determine need will give confidence to Albertans that projects moving forward will help power our homes and communities.”



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