Towers of power west of Lloyd

By Geoff Lee

December 13, 2016 12:00 AM

GRID Green indicates approximate area where newly proposed transmission facilities could be located, red is previous transmission development proposed areas and blue indicates existing substations.

Call it the twin powers proposal west of Lloydminster.
Two new 240 kilovolt transmission lines are needed along the Hardisty to Vermilion and Provost to Edgerton corridors to keep the lights on at area homes, businesses and industries.
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) that plans Alberta’s transmission system, says the new lines are a must to maintain the reliability of supply in the region as the demand for electricity increases.
“In that area we’ve looked at forecast demand and we’re expecting it to grow by over 100 megawatts over the next 20 years,” said Angela Anderson, AESO’s external relations advisor.
“Another reason is really just the existing lines in the area are already being overloaded— those currently being managed operationally, but they are in need of replacement.”
Transmission reinforcement will also provide expanded options to connect any renewable power generation developed in the area.
AESO is filing its Needs Identification Document this week to the Alberta Utilities Commission that regulates investor-owned electric and gas utilities.
“We’ve determined a need for a transmission development in that area, so that’s the step where we’re at right now,” said Anderson, with the Dec. 16 filing deadline coming up.
“Once the AUC receives that, they review the application and they’ll make a decision.”
Then it’s up to the TFOs or transmission facilities owners, ATCO Electric Ltd. and AltaLink Management Ltd. to site and route the lines and substations and file their facilities applications to build, operate and maintain the lines after public consultation.
“Our initial planning estimate is about $280 to $300 million for this project,” said Anderson.
“Our cost estimates are planning estimates only and it can vary.”
She said it is the TFO’s job to look at what the real cost will be and apply to the AUC to have those costs approved before ground breaking.
“We’re looking at an in-service dates for the third quarter of 2020-21,” said Anderson.
AESO’s needs application will also ask the AUC to approve the cancellation of certain transmission developments previously approved in 2011, but not constructed as part the defunct Central East Transmission Development.
The Central East Transmission project was cancelled due to changing power needs according to Anderson.
“It’s AESO role to plan for the system looking into the future, so we are always looking at whether generation forecast is changing in the area or demand forecast is changing in the area for whatever reason,” she said.
“So sometimes we have to adjust our plans—that was the reason for that cancellation and why we are reapplying for a new need in the area.”
The AESO sent notices to residents, stakeholders and landowners in October and November about the need for improved power transmission and cancellation of some Central East transmission components.
“We’ve been looking at this area as a need since 2009,” said Anderson.
“The previous Central East Transmission Development had more of a potential to go near Lloydminster, but with this new one, we don’t actually expect that to be the case.”
The AESO feels responsible to let Lloydminster residents know what’s changed and why.
“Typically, we notify everyone who will be potentially directly affected by the project,” said Anderson.
“Since this is related to the past Central East plans, we wanted to close the loop with everybody who received the newsletter for that project as well.”
AESO’s proposed development is for a new 240 kV line from the existing Hansman Lake substation near Provost to the existing Edgerton substation.
Another new 240 kV line will run from the existing Nilrem substation near Hardisty to a new substation in the Vermilion area.
Both transmission lines will be initially energized at 138 kV and upgraded to 240 kV as the demand increases.
“There’s also potential for lots of renewable regeneration in the area,” said Anderson,  who noted 16 per cent of Alberta’s electricity is generated by wind power.
“That area is very conducive to wind.”
Sales of renewable power are added to the grid.
Anderson didn’t know specifically what the power source is for the two new lines, but she said the transmission system for the province is basically one big network with generation sources everywhere.
The provincial system has 235 power generation units including coal and natural gas.

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