We believe that Alberta needs to rethink how infrastructure is built by minimizing its footprint while maximizing its capacity to ultimately conserve our land resources, said Scott Thon, AltaLink President and CEO. We listened to landowners who are concerned about new facilities who told us land is precious. We need to reuse right-of ways wherever possible and conserve our land for future generations while ensuring we meet the growing demands for power in Alberta.
AltaLink is inviting the provincial government and the Alberta Electric System Operator to adopt planning criteria that places more weight on land-use issues earlier in the transmission planning process.
More than 1.5 million people in central and southern Alberta rely on electricity transported through the Edmonton-Calgary transmission corridor. Independent forecasts indicate that transmission capacity in the corridor must be increased to meet the growing energy demands of Albertans. This is driven by Albertas many new residents and a growing economy that add the equivalent of two cities the size of Red Deer to our electricity system annually. AltaLink is reviewing all transmission options following the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board decision to void all decisions and proceedings related to the 500 kV Edmonton to Calgary transmission development.
While the single circuit 500 kV configuration remains a viable option, AltaLink plans to bring forward a second proposal to the AESO to design and install single towers to carry the electricity traditionally carried by two towers. Public and landowner consultation on such and option will begin in the near future.
As a company committed to this province, we know we need to be more effective in not only how we use the land but also in how we engage landowners and the public. The Government has already shown through its Land Use Framework process that it is committed to better balancing the impacts on our land with the need for infrastructure development, said Thon. Together, industry, the public and government can minimize the impact on the land while ensuring the present and future electricity needs of the province are met.
AltaLink also confirmed its commitment to ensuring that all Albertans understand our electricity system and its infrastructure challenges. The company announced its sponsorship of the Canadian Centre for Energy Information for a new, factual and comprehensive program of public education about the electricity system.
We know we need to show leadership by being transparent and providing opportunities for Albertans to understand the electricity system and the challenges to ensuring it is reliable, said Thon. Today I am challenging my industry colleagues to join us to make this new initiative a success.