Facilities – Electricity
In this decision, the AUC approved the application from AltaLink Management Ltd. (“AML”) to alter portions of the existing Transmission Line 225L in the Magrath Area.
As part of AML’s capital upgrade program, AML is rebuilding a 22 kilometer (“km”) section of the 69-kilovolt (“kV”) Transmission Line 225L. AML classified the majority of the rebuild as “like-for-like” with less than a five-meter shift to the centreline of the transmission line. There were four segments classified as needing relocations that would not be categorized as “like-for-like”. In addition to those four segments, portions of the Transmission Line 225L are currently located adjacent to the Highway 5 right-of-way on private lands. AML requested approval to relocate the four segments and shift sections of the transmission line from private lands onto the Highway 5 right-of-way.
AML submitted that three of the proposed relocation segments were requested by landowners, and the fourth proposed relocation is an opportunity to improve the alignment of the transmission line following a consultation with the Town of Magrath and Alberta Transportation.
The AUC found that the application had met the information requirements of Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations and Hydro Developments. The AUC was also satisfied that approval of the project would be in the public interest having regard to the social, economic, and other effects of the project, including its effect on the environment.
As the replacement involved removal of the transmission line from cultivated fields and private lands onto the Highway 5 right-of-way, the AUC found that the proposed alteration would result in a reduced impact to the area by Transmission Line 225L. AML indicated that the Town of Magrath and Alberta Transportation are in support of the section closest to Magrath, and the potentially affected stakeholders had no outstanding concerns.
AML indicated that it would upgrade the transmission line to 138-kV. However, the transmission line would remain energized at 69-kV for the foreseeable future. The use of 138-kV structures would enable AML to minimize inventory and standardize spare parts, and it would allow for an upgrade to a 138-kV conductor without the need to replace the structures if directed in the future.
The AUC agreed that the construction of the 138-kV transmission line structures is prudent. It noted that these structures meet the aviation safe structure design guidelines, provide efficiency by standardizing transmission lines, and could provide cost savings in the case of a transmission line upgrade.
Regarding the environmental evaluation that indicated that the project area has numerous temporary wetlands and historical occurrences of sensitive wildlife, the AUC was satisfied that the measures the AUC would implement would reduce the environmental impact to a negligible level. The project is along an existing road, mainly next to agricultural land, and is a rebuild of an existing transmission line. AML would also comply with the Code of Practice Notification for Powerline Works Impacting Wetlands, apply for reclamation certificates, and conduct site-specific wildlife surveys as required by Alberta Environment and Parks.