Facilities – Gas
In this decision, the AUC approved the applications filed by NEXUS Energy and Associated Ltd. (“NEXUS”) to construct and operate a power plant designated as the Rocky Power Plant (the “Power Plant”), located in the Rocky Mountain House Area, and to connect the Power Plant to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System (“AIES”), collectively the “Project”.
The Project is located adjacent to the existing Obsidian Gas Plant. The Power Plant would consist of four one-megawatt natural gas-fired generators. Installation of a dedicated natural gas pipeline running from the Obsidian Gas Plant to the proposed Power Plant would be required. The Power Plant would also connect to FortisAlberta Inc.’s existing 25-kilovolt distribution line.
NEXUS had retained RWDI AIR Inc. (“RWDI”) to conduct an air quality assessment for the Project. The dispersion modeling results showed that predicted concentrations for most substances of interest and averaging periods were less than the limits set by the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives. However, the predicted cumulative concentration for nitrogen dioxide, which included external sources and background, exceeded at a few receptors. These exceedances occurred at receptors located within the fenceline of external industrial property. RWDI submitted that the exceedances were due to the external sources exceeding at the nearby receptors, whereas the proposed project does not contribute significantly to the concentration at those receptors. RWDI concluded that the Project would not contribute materially to the overall predicted air contaminant concentrations in the study area.
The AUC reviewed the applications and found that the technical, siting, noise, and environmental information requirements specified in Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations and Hydro Developments had been met. It also noted that the participant involvement program conducted by NEXUS had met the requirements of Rule 007 and noted that no submissions were received in response to the notice of applications.
The AUC acknowledged that NEXUS had filed an application with Alberta Environment and Parks (“AEP”) for Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act approval. AEP will consider the air quality assessment in its independent evaluation. The AUC also noted that, although the air quality assessment predicted exceedances of Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives in the cumulative case of nitrogen dioxide, these exceedances were determined to be caused by existing external sources. The AUC accepted RWDI’s conclusion that the Project would not contribute materially to the predicted exceedances at those external receptors and would not significantly impact the air quality in the study area. As the predicted concentrations for most substances of interest and averaging periods were less than the applicable limits; that the proposed Project does not cause the cumulative exceedance for nitrogen dioxide; and, that no exceedances of the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives for nitrogen dioxide are predicted outside the fence line of the existing industrial facilities, the AUC found that the environmental impacts of the Project are not significant.
The AUC considered the Project to be in the public interest and, pursuant to sections 11 and 18 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act, approved the applications.