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Updates to AUC Application Review Process Following Generation Approvals Pause, AUC Bulletin 2024-03

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Rules – Applications

Updates to AUC Application Review Process Following Generation Approvals Pause

On February 29, 2024, the Generation Approvals Pause Regulation expired. This regulation prohibited the AUC from issuing approvals for new power plants and hydro developments that produce renewable electricity over one megawatt. As of March 1, 2024, the AUC may issue decisions on power plant applications affected by the pause.

During the pause, the AUC continued to process applications for new power plants that produce renewable electricity up to the decision stage.

At the direction of the Alberta government, the AUC continued its work on the inquiry, separated into Module A and Module B, into the ongoing economic, orderly and efficient development of electricity generation in Alberta. The Alberta government indicated an intent to bring specific policy, legislative and regulatory changes. A summary of the changes can be found on the AUC’s website.

Interim Information Requirements

The interim information requirements related to agricultural land, viewscapes, reclamation security and land use planning, implemented by the AUC in September 2023, for new power plant applications, including wind, solar, thermal, hydroelectric and other power plants, remained in effect for all current and prospective applications.

Power Plant Applications Affected by the Pause Will be Assessed on Individual Merits

Because the AUC continued to process applications up to the decision stage during the pause, further process may be required for those applications, depending on the circumstances of the application and the sufficiency of the existing evidentiary record. The AUC will issue correspondence on the record of each existing application confirming the next steps in the proceeding. Should no further process be required, the AUC will issue its decision following the standards for decision writing set out in AUC Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations, Hydro Developments and Gas Utility Pipelines (“Rule 007”).

Rule 007 Consultation

The AUC will initiate a stakeholder consultation on specific topics of Rule 007, including topics considered during Module A of the inquiry, which are the subject of the Alberta government’s intended policy, legislative and regulatory changes. As part of this consultation, the AUC will consider whether some or all interim information requirements will be permanently incorporated into the application requirements for new wind, solar, thermal, hydroelectric and other power plants.

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