AltaLink has whittled down four potential power line routes in central Alberta to two.
The Alberta Electric System Operator has determined the existing transmission system in the area is reaching its limits and a new 240-kilovolt power line is needed to meet future electricity demands and to allow additional generation to come on line.
AltaLink has been given the job of building the 60-kilometre line, which will connect substations just northeast of Red Deer and about 10 kilometres east of Alix. It passes through parts of Red Deer, Lacombe and Stettler counties.
After studying the routes and getting public input, proposed routes were dropped that might have had potential impact on Canyon Ski Resort and on area farming operations.
A route that would have crossed the northern edge of a trail system and a nature conservation site on the south side of Highway 12 was also dropped.
In the preferred option, Altalink will opt for a monopole double-circuit transmission line to further reduce the impact of the project on the surrounding area. Monopoles avoid the need for the lattice-work transmission towers seen commonly.
A second option considers a single transmission line, with a second to possibly come in a separate application a few years down the road.
A pair of open houses are being held to get public input. The first takes place Tuesday at Alix Community Hall. On Wednesday, an open house takes place at Canyon Ski Resort. Both sessions will run from 5 to 8 p.m.
AltaLink is undertaking seasonal environmental surveys by helicopter along the proposed routes. Some geotechnical drilling will also take place, and AltaLink may be required to file applications under the province’s Water Act if any wetlands will be affected.
If the project is approved, construction would start in the winter of 2021 and be completed in 2023.