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Amazon Data Services Canada Inc. Emergency Backup Generation Project, AUC Decision 27938-D01-2023

Link to Decision Summarized

Emergency Backup Power Plant – Facilities


Amazon Data Services Canada Inc. (“ADS”) applied to construct and operate an emergency backup power generation system consisting of 11 diesel-powered generating units with a total generating capability of 25.6 megawatts.


The AUC approved the application from ADS to construct and operate the emergency backup power plant.

Applicable Legislation

Alberta Utilities Commission Act, SA 2007, c A-37.2.

Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives and Guidelines.

AUC Rule 012: Noise Control.

AUC Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations, Hydro Developments and Gas Utility Pipelines.

Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, RSA 2000, c E-12.

Hydro and Electric Energy Act, RSA 2000, c H-16.

Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulation SOR/2016-151.

Pertinent Issues

Alberta does not have emission standards for diesel generators. Nevertheless, to address requirement TP17 of Rule 007, an Air Dispersion Modelling Assessment (the “Assessment”) was conducted by ADS. The Assessment determined that the backup power plant emissions would only exceed the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives (“AAAQO”) when all 11 units operated simultaneously. Since the frequency of utility power outages is very low, the probability of this event was determined to be low.

Alberta Environment and Protected Areas confirmed that emergency standby or backup power plants or generators are exempt from approval under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulation does not apply to diesel generators.

The AUC found that approval of the project is in the public interest having regard to the social, economic, and other effects of the project, including its effect on the environment.

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