AltaLink assured Lacombe County on Thursday that a proposed power line is not meant to transmit power to U.S. markets.
“This line is not built for export,” said company representative Kevin Strangway, in response to a question from county Reeve Terry Engen.
Strangway said he could not guarantee that no Alberta power would find its way south of the border because the province does export a small amount of electricity — about one per cent of production — during off-peak hours.
During the busiest times of day, Alberta imports electricity and the province has been a net importer of power for the past five years, he said following a presentation to council on AltaLink’s plans.
A recent Alberta Electric System Operator report predicts the province’s power grid would “highly likely” not meet North American reliability standards at the present rate of growth by 2014, he said.
AltaLink is proposing to build a 330-to-340-km line between Edmonton and Calgary to upgrade the grid.
Councillor Kevin Wigmore also asked what would happen to those who are planning developments on land that may be crossed by the power line.
One county landowner wants to establish an intensive livestock operation but is concerned what would happen if AltaLink decides the land is needed for the line.
Strangway said the company wants to hear those kinds of concerns early in the process so that information can go into planning. AltaLink is trying to find a route that does not pass too closely to farm buildings or homes. If there is no other option, relocating structures or buying out landowners may be considered.
AltaLink is deep into a consultation process with landowners and a series of open houses drew about 1,600 people earlier this year.
The next step will see a number of information centres set up in various communities, including Ponoka, Olds, Rimbey and Sylvan Lake, beginning next month to give residents a place to get information on AltaLink’s plans.
Information centres are open from noon to 8 p.m. at the following times and locations:
l March 1 to 5, Ponoka Kinsmen Community Centre at 5009 46th Ave. Ponoka
l March 8 to 12, Sylvan Lake, Chateau Suites, Marina Suite at 5100 Lakeshore Dr.
l March 22 to 26, Olds College, Frank Grisdale Building at 4500 50th St.
l March 22 to 26, Rimbey Community Centre, Kinsmen Meeting Room, 5109 54th St.