Facilities – Wind Power
In this decision, the AUC approved the application for a needs identification document (“NID”) from the Alberta Electric System Operator (“AESO”) and the facility application from ATCO Electric Ltd. (“AE”) to connect the Paintearth Wind Project to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System (“AIES”).
Introduction and Background
On June 14, 2017, Paintearth Wind Project Ltd. (“Paintearth Wind”) filed applications with the AUC for approval of the Paintearth Wind Project and the associated Lane Lakes 973S Substation. The applications were considered in Proceeding 22726.
The AESO subsequently filed a NID application, seeking approval to connect Paintearth Wind’s Lanes Lake 973S Substation to the AIES. AE also filed facility applications for approval to meet the need identified by the AESO (the “Project”). Following the request from the AESO and AE, made pursuant to Section 15.4 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act, the AUC combined the applications and considered them jointly as Proceeding 23206.
On December 4, 2018, the AUC granted Paintearth Wind Project Ltd.’s request to place Proceeding 22726 in abeyance. The Paintearth Wind Project was subsequently approved, with a total generating capability of 151.2 megawatts (MW), in Decision 22726-D01-2020 issued on January 22, 2020.
After the proceeding had been put in abeyance again on February 7, 2020, at the request of the AESO, the AUC resumed processing the connection project applications following the AESO’s filing of an amendment to the NID on December 3, 2020.
The AESO had received a system access service request from Paintearth Wind to connect its Paintearth Wind Project to the AIES in the Paintearth area. Paintearth Wind requested a new rate Supply Transmission Service with a contract capacity of 150 MW and a new rate Demand Transmission Service with a contract capacity of 1 MW.
The AESO applied for an in-and-out connection to Transmission Line 9L93, which consisted of constructing a new substation, designated as the Pioneer 805S Substation, and altering existing Transmission Line 9L93 to connect it to the substation. Further, a new 240-kilovolt (“kV”) transmission line, designated as Transmission Line 9L119, would be constructed to connect the new substation to Paintearth Wind’s approved Lanes Lake 973S Substation.
The AESO indicated that it had developed one alternative that it preferred, as it was technically feasible and required less transmission development. However, Paintearth Wind indicated to the AESO that it did not wish to proceed with the alternative due to scheduling conflicts and that it would assume the additional costs of the applied-for project. The AESO consequently eliminated the preferred alternative from further study.
In response to an AUC information request, the AESO clarified that changing to the preferred alternative would delay the connection by six to eight months, which would not meet the business needs of Paintearth Wind. The AESO directed AE to file facility applications to meet the need identified and to assist the AESO in conducting a participant involvement program (“PIP”) for its NID application.
In its facility applications, AE proposed to:
· Construct a 240-kV switching station designated as Pioneer 805S Substation in Legal Subdivision 12, Section 23, Township 38, Range 15, west of the Fourth Meridian.
· Construct approximately 12 kilometers of single-circuit 240-kV transmission line, designated as 9L119, connecting the proposed Pioneer 805S Substation to Paintearth Wind’s Lanes Lake 973S Substation.
· Construct approximately 100 meters of two new 240-kV single-circuit transmission lines, designated as 9L175 and 9L93, connecting the proposed Pioneer 805S Substation to the AIES.
· Redesignate a portion of single-circuit 240-kV Transmission Line 9L93 between the existing Tinchebray 972S Substation and the proposed Pioneer 805S Substation to Transmission Line 9L175.
· Construct a temporary bypass on existing Transmission Line 9L93.
AE conducted a participant involvement program (“PIP”) in accordance with Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations, and Hydro Developments.
The AUC found that the NID application filed by the AESO contained all the information required by the Electric Utilities Act, the Transmission Regulation, and Rule 007.
The applied-for development was not the AESO’s preferred alternative. Paintearth Wind requested that the Project be constructed as proposed and was prepared to pay the additional costs. The AUC found that the benefits of a smaller footprint associated with the AESO’s preferred option did not offset the schedule and cost implications associated with it. The AUC found that it was reasonable for the AESO to apply for the development favored by AE because the other differences between the Project’s footprint and the preferred alternative were minimal. The AUC approved the alternative preferred by Paintearth and accepted that Paintearth would pay the costs beyond the AESO’s preferred, less costly alternative.
As no interested party opposed the approval of the NID application or demonstrated any deficiencies, the AUC considered the AESO’s assessment of the need to be correct and approved the NID application.