October 10th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 41
Transmission development in the Pass back on the table
Survey area expanded to include Crowsnest Pass, although no routes through Pass at this time
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina Photo
Pictured above are the two examples of the types of transmission poles that Altalink is proposing. On the right is single-circuit H-frame pole and on the right is a single-circuit monopole.
Pass Herald Reporter
Crowsnest Pass is once again being included in a study area for the development of a transmission line for the Chapel Rock to Pincher Creek Area Transmission Development.

There are two parts to this project: a new transmission line and an Alberta-British Columbia intertie restoration.

The AB-BC intertie project does not involve any new transmission lines to be built, only a reinforcement of the existing 1201L transmission line that would increase its capacity. This line runs north of Coleman. As part of this project, a brand-new substation – occupying a footprint of approximately 90x100 metres - is required to be built somewhere north of Highway 3.

The second component of the project, the one that connects renewable energy generated in the Pincher Creek area to a new substation - to be called the Chapel Rock Substation - may affect Crowsnest Pass directly and would require new transmission towers to be built.

Altalink is proposing one line from either the Goose Lake Substation or Castle Rock Ridge Substation, both located north of Pincher Creek, to terminate at the new substation. During the workshop sessions that Altalink and Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) hosted in April 2018, Crowsnest Pass was not part of the “study area”, the area being considered for the new transmission route.
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At a Council meeting on October 2, however, AESO and Altalink advised that the study area had been expanded to include Crowsnest Pass. According to John Grove, municipal and community relations manager with Altalink, no actual routes have been drafted in the municipality and Groves alluded to the topography and the cost of construction being prohibitive. However, he was clear in stating that the option is still there.

“We are here today because in a prior iteration of this project, it got suggested by stakeholders that a route get directed through Crownest Pass,” he said when presenting as a delegation to council. “Crowsnest Pass was not originally in our planning template. We're here to say we’re back to that starting point again and as a courtesy, be aware. It may get pushed, but it's unlikely. We went through the exercise of why we didn’t site it here this time and we have the arguments, but if stakeholders make any suggestion of a route, we are obligated to go and look at that suggestion. It doesn't mean we’re obligated to build it, but we have to compare it to the others."

This project has been talked about for a decade. In the last iteration in 2015, Altalink had a proposal to bring a 240-kV line through Bellevue along the ridge, which then connected to the AB-BC intertie.

Back then, strong opposition to Altalink’s proposed line cited negative agricultural and environmental impacts, landscape fragmentation, questions about the need, and visual and noise concerns.

Now, Council also still holds many of these concerns, particularly around noise and visual impact.

“The other reason why Crowsnest Pass is opposed to it is that we don’t make any money off of these things,” says Mayor Blair Painter. “We don’t get anything out of it. We would get some lineal assessment for the new portion of line, but minimal for what we have to put up with."
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The need

AltaLink has been directed by AESO to develop roughly 40 to 50 km of new transmission line to connect renewable energy generated in the Pincher Creek area to the B.C. intertie. The need for renewable energy is dictated by the provincial government’s mandate to have renewables provide 30 per cent of Alberta's electricity by 2030 and a phasing out of coal-fired electricity.

Particularly in southern Alberta, wind and solar power generation have strong potential. Since southern Alberta is less heavily populated, the need is low compared to the generation that will be produced. So, according to Sami Abdulsalam, Director, Transmission Planning with the AESO, there is a need to move that power from where it is generated to where it is being demanded.

At this time, Altalink is proposing roughly 40 to 50 km of one single-circuit 240 kV transmission line, likely an H-frame or a single monopole structure, to run from the Pincher Creek area where wind power is being developed to a proposed substation, named Chapel Rock. This new line would need to head west to meet the 1201L, the main intertie with BC and other centres in other parts of Alberta.

At the April 2018 open house, project developers were undecided whether a single-circuit, twinned single-circuit or double circuit transmission would be required. Now, Grove had indicated that one single-circuit 240-kV option had been selected, which means it can go within road allowances and thereby opens up many more siting options.
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Altalink and AESO are currently in the public consultation phase for preliminary routes that, according to Grove, is expected to continue through to summer 2019. A facility application is expected to be filed with the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) - the regulator - in fall 2019 and, if the project is approved, construction would begin in fall 2020 and be completed between 2022-2023.

At this time, there are no open houses scheduled for Crowsnest Pass as it’s not directly impacted by preliminary routes.

However, Mayor Painter doesn’t feel that this is a valid reason and stresses that Crowsnest Pass needs to be involved in the consultation right now.

“In my opinion, now it’s kind of flipped and there is a lot of opposition in the MD [of Pincher Creek] to this project and I think it could potentially come back here. I have concerns and I think it’s going to roll down to which community speaks the loudest and is the most opposed to this development in their area,” he says. “I don’t think it’s fair that the open houses are in Pincher Creek and we're being left out. We need to have as much opportunity to voice our concerns in our community as they do for their community.”

Open houses are scheduled in Pincher Creek, Cowley and Lundbreck in two weeks.

Tuesday, October 23
5 - 8 p.m.
Heritage Inn & Convention Centre
919 Waterton Ave - Pincher Creek AB

Wednesday, October 24
5 - 8 p.m.
Cowley Hall
518 Railway Ave
Cowley, AB

Thursday, October 25
5 - 8 p.m.
Lundbreck Community Hall
304 1 Street -
Lundbreck, AB
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October 10th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 41
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