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Alberta Electric System Operator Needs Identification Document Application and ATCO Electric Ltd. Facility Applications Thickwood to Voyageur Transmission Project, AUC Decision 26035-D01-2021

Link to Decision Summarized

Facilities – Needs Identification Document


In this decision, the AUC approved a needs identification document (“NID”) application from the Alberta Electric System Operator (“AESO”) and a facility application from ATCO Electric Ltd. (“AE”) for the Thickwood to Voyageur Transmission Project (the “Project”).

Discussion

Needs Identification Document

The AESO had received a system access service (“SAS”) request from Suncor Energy Inc. (“Suncor”) to connect the approved 800-megawatt (“MW”) Suncor Base Plant Cogeneration Facility to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System (“AIES”).

The AESO proposed that the need could be met by constructing a new double-circuit, 240-kV transmission line from Suncor’s Voyageur Substation to ATCO Electric (“AE”)’s Thickwood Hills Substation and by altering Thickwood Hills Substation by adding three 240-kV breakers. The AESO also proposed to upgrade Suncor’s existing 240-kV transmission lines by replacing the existing conductors with higher capacity conductors. The NID also proposed minor alterations to AltaLink Management Ltd. and Alberta PowerLine General Partner Ltd. facilities.

AE was directed by the AESO to file a facility application with the AUC for facilities to meet the identified need and to assist the AESO in conducting a participant involvement program for its NID application

Facility Applications

In its facility applications, AE requested approvals to meet the NID.

The environmental evaluation conducted by AE concluded that, based on the design of the Project and implementation of proposed mitigation measures, residual effects of the Project were not expected to be significant. AE further conducted a participant involvement program in accordance with Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations and Hydro Developments.

AE estimated the cost of the Project to be $101.3 million, with all costs allocated to Suncor. The target in-service date for the Project is July 1, 2022.

AUC Findings

The AUC was satisfied that the application filed by AE included all required information and had met all applicable rules. The AUC found that the proposed Project was in the public interest and approved the facility application, pursuant to sections 14, 15, 18 and 19 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act.

The AUC was satisfied that the AESO’s NID application met the requirements set out in the Electric Utilities Act, Transmission Regulation and Rule 007. Accordingly, the NID application was approved.

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