WHEREAS critical transmission projects are identified in Section 2 of the Critical Transmission Infrastructure Schedule of the Electric Utilities Act, RSA 2000, c.E-5.1 (which scheduled was formerly part of the proposed Electric Statutes Amendment Act, 2009 known as Bill 50); and
WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has indicated that the critical transmission projects will cost Albertans approximately $5.6 billion; and
WHEREAS increased in transmission costs without sufficient benefit in the short and medium term will have negative economic impact on residents, institutional, commercial and industrial stakeholders; and
WHEREAS Bill 50 was based on the provincial energy strategy; and
WHEREAS a major economic adjustment has occurred subsequent to the development of the provincial energy strategy; and
WHEREAS the provincial government has already placed two of the critical transmission infrastructure projects on hold;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the provincial government put all critical transmission projects on hold until a comprehensive cost benefit review is completed.
Strathcona County and surrounding municipalities were involved with a process with the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) over the last eight months. We were and still are concerned about the overbuild of the overhead 500kv infrastructure and the potential economic impact associated with the overbuild.
None. This resolution was emergent.
Building a robust grid is an absolute necessity if Alberta is to continue to support the strongest economic growth and fastest growing population in the country. Economic and population growth are widely recognized as reliable predictors of growth in demand for electricity. Provincial demand for power is forecast to nearly double over the next 20 years.
Investing in these critical transmission projects is not a simple or easy choice. It means billions in investment and increased costs on Albertans’ power bills. But this is not about what’s best for Alberta for the next four years, but rather what’s best for the next four decades.
Because these projects provide long-term benefits they should also be paid for over the long term. Therefore, on February 23, 2012 the Government of Alberta (GOA) announced that in response to the Critical Transmission Review Committee’s Report, Powering Our Economy, the GOA will pursue options to reduce the impact to consumers of the cost of transmission projects. This work will include:
Strengthening the backbone of the transmission grid will ensure we can power our economy for the foreseeable future. Reinforcing Alberta’s transmission system will also encourage new investment in electrical generation plants, which will lead to increased competition and therefore put downward pressure on the price of electricity.
The GOA’s job is to ensure we are providing the necessary infrastructure to meet our needs today and into the future.
The Critical Transmission Review Committee was established to review two power lines and make recommendations related to the approval and costs of transmission lines in general. The Critical Transmission Review Committee report, Powering Our Economy, recommended the use of a competitive procurement process for future critical transmission infrastructure projects. In a March 2014 meeting with the AAMDC board, the Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA) explained that they are in the process of building the capacity to mount challenges to assumed costs of transmission infrastructure construction forwarded by utility companies. They are considering hiring a Cost Oversight Manager to look specifically at all projects. The AAMDC will monitor the progress made by the UCA. However, because not all projects have been put on hold and a cost-benefit analysis is not underway, the AAMDC finds this response to be unsatisfactory.