Facilities – Wind Power
In this decision, the AUC approved applications from the Alberta Electric System Operator (“AESO”) and facility applications from ATCO Electric Ltd. (“AE”) and AltaLink Management Ltd. (“AML”) for the proposed Lanfine North Wind Power Project Connection (the “Project Connection”). The AUC found that AE’s preferred West route is in the public interest.
AESO Need Identification Document Application
The AESO filed a need identification document (“NID”) application as required pursuant to Section 34 of the Electric Utilities Act (“EUA”). The NID application was filed in response to the system access service (“SAS”) request filed by Pattern Development Lanfine Wind ULC (“Pattern”). In the SAS request, Pattern requested access to the Alberta Interconnected Electrical System (“AIES”) for its Lanfine North Wind Power Project (the “Wind Project”).
The AESO’s application proposed the construction of a 13-kilometer transmission line to connect an existing substation to Pattern’s approved Buffalo Bird 601S Substation. The NID application also proposed to alter the existing substation and to add or modify other equipment needed to ensure proper integration of the Wind Project with the AIES.
The AUC determined that the AESO’s application provided all the information required by the EUA, the Transmission Regulation and Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations and Hydro Developments. As no interested party argued that the assessment of the need is technically deficient or approval of the needs application is not in the public interest, the AUC considered the AESO assessment to be correct and approved the NID application.
AE Facility Applications
AE applied for approval to construct and connect a 144-kilovolt (“kV”) transmission line from the existing substation to Pattern’s Buffalo Bird 601S Substation and to add one 144-kV circuit breaker at the existing substation. AE proposed a West route and an East route for the 13 km transmission line, which would be designated as Transmission Line 7L238.
The AUC noted that the West route, preferred by AE, was further away from any residences along the route. The West route also had the lowest overall impact on agricultural operations and would achieve better compatibility with existing land use. Beyond these differences, the AUC noted that the routes were similar.
An environmental evaluation conducted by Hemmera Envirochem Inc. (“Hemmera”) concluded that overall, the East route is preferred from the perspective of minimizing potential environmental effects while predicting that residual environmental effects would be similar.
Relying on Hemmera’s assessment of the potential environmental effects, the AUC determined that with the imposition of conditions and mitigation measures, the environmental effects of AE’s proposed facilities and the West route in particular, could be minimized to an acceptable level. To ensure this, the AUC issued a number of conditions to minimize environmental impacts during the construction and operation of the facilities.
AML Facility Applications
AML requested approval to construct and operate a four-km underground fiber optic cable to support the connection of the Wind Project to the AIES and to construct equipment to prevent overload conditions on the AIES as a result of the Wind Project. The route of the cable would be from an existing splice box on Structure 391 of AE’s Eastern Alberta Transmission Line to AML’s existing North Holden 395S Substation located approximately 250 km from the Wind Project. The need for the equipment was outlined in the NID and the AESO’s functional specifications. The AUC found AML’s applied-for facilities are consistent with the need identified in the AESO’s NID application, and in the public interest for the reasons described in Decision 26439-D01-2021.
The AUC approved the AESO’s NID application pursuant to Section 34 of the Electric Utilities Act. Pursuant to sections 14, 15, 18, 19, and 21 of the HEEA, the AUC approved AML’s and AE’s applications.
The AUC noted that it does not typically issue a permit and license for fiber optic cable applications. However, Decision 26439-D01-2021 issued a permit and license, and connection order which will remain in effect for the Lanfine North Wind Power Project Connection even if the Garden Plain Wind Power Plant Connection Project should be delayed or canceled. Accordingly, the AUC determined that it was appropriate to issue both a permit and license for AML’s applied-for facilities and a connection order.