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AltaLink Management Ltd. ENGIE Buffalo Trial North Wind Connection Project, AUC Decision 27290-D01-2023

Link to Decision Summarized

Electricity – Facility

Application

ENGIE Development Canada GP Inc. (“ENGIE”) applied to construct and operate a 400-megawatt wind power plant, designated as the Buffalo Trail Wind Power Project and the Buffalo Trail North 453S Substation in Cypress County (“Power Plant”). The AUC approved the Power Plant on February 8, 2023, in Decision 27240-D01-2023. The AUC also  approved the AESO’s need identification document application for the Power Plant consisting of a new 240-kilovolt transmission line connecting the substation to AltaLink Management Ltd.’s (“AML”) existing Transmission Line 983L.

In this proceeding, AML requested approval to construct and operate a 240-kV transmission line, designated as 983BL, to connect the Power Plant. The transmission line would originate at the ENGIE’s substation and connect to AML’s existing Transmission Line 983L in a T-tap configuration. AML would also install approximately 395 meters of underground fibre optic cable from Transmission Line 983L to the substation. The initial in-service date  of August 1, 2024, for the Power Plant was changed to January 15, 2028, to avoid congestion and align with the time additional transmission capacity will become available.

Decision

The AUC approved the application from AML. The AUC noted that it is not common to approve a small transmission development with an in-service date so far in the future. However, the AUC found that given there is limited transmission capacity in the area, and that the AESO has approved an in-service date of January 15, 2028, the approval was in the public interest.

The AUC found that the applications comply with the information requirements set out in Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations, Hydro Developments and Gas Utility Pipelines (“Rule 007”) and that the proposed transmission project was consistent with meeting the approved need and the requirements of the AESO’s functional specification. The AUC was also satisfied that AML’s participant involvement program met the requirements of Rule 007.

The AUC accepted the conclusion of AML’s environmental evaluation, which predicted that environmental effects will not be significant, and expressed an expectation that AML will ensure that construction occurs outside the nesting season.

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