Facilities – Peaking Power Plant
In this decision, the AUC approved the application from Signalta Resources Limited (“Signalta”) to construct and operate a power plant, designated as the High River Peaking Power Plant, and connect the power plant, located in the High River area, to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System (“AIES”) (the “Project”).
Signalta applied for approval to construct and operate a 19.95-megawatt (“MW”) natural gas-fired power plant, pursuant to Section 11 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act (“HEEA”). Signalta proposed the Project as a cost-effective source of reliable natural gas-fueled electricity supply. The Project would contribute as a new source of electricity and ancillary services operating primarily during periods of high electrical demand and power pricing. Signalta stated that the dispatchable and fast responding facility would offset renewable generation and assist in the reduction of grid supply volatility.
Signalta proposed to install the Project in three stages. The first stage would include eight natural gas generators with a combined generation capability of up to 12 MW. Stages two and three would each consist of four natural gas generators with a combined generation capability of up to 5.6 MW, per stage. Signalta anticipated stages two and three would proceed within two years of the first stage. It also indicated that the combined total output would be limited to 19.95 MW via operating procedures and power flow controls. The Project’s required sweet natural gas fuel would be sourced from a new ATCO Energy Services tap from an existing ATCO Gas pipeline.
Signalta proposed to construct the Project on a pre-existing oil and gas lease located approximately 0.9 kilometers north of High River, in an area designated as an industrial corridor. Signalta also indicated that it would take over the end-of-life obligations for two abandoned natural gas wells located on the site.
Construction is scheduled to start immediately after all approvals have been received, with the in-service date of the final stage being August 2023.
Signalta applied to connect each stage of the proposed Project to the AIES via three existing FortisAlberta Inc. 25-kilovolt distribution lines located on or near the Project site. Signalta provided a letter of non-objection regarding the proposed Project from FortisAlberta Inc and noted that the AESO had been informed of the Project.
Signalta’s environmental impacts would be largely confined to environmental impacts to air quality and emissions. In response to an information request, Signalta explained that because the proposed Project is a peaking power plant, the facility will operate much less than a continuous duty base load power plant. The Project’s total emissions per year would, as a result, be 70 to 86 per cent less as a consequence. Given Signalta’s assertion that the Project will not result in any major impacts to the environment and the existence of the two abandoned wellsites, the AUC agreed that the environmental impacts would not be significant.
The AUC approved the application for the Project.