Effect of power lines on existing generating facilities questioned

An Enmax representative probed the possibility a new power line mega-project could damage existing generating facilities at an Alberta Utilities Commission hearing in Red Deer on Tuesday.

An Enmax representative probed the possibility a new power line mega-project could damage existing generating facilities at an Alberta Utilities Commission hearing in Red Deer on Tuesday.

David Wood asked representatives for the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) whether the new high-voltage DC power line would produce “interactions” that could damage the company’s generators.

Wood also wanted to know who would pay for any damage that might be caused.

Fred Ritter, a chief engineer with AESO, said he couldn’t answer the question of costs because he doesn’t see that scenario happening.

Ritter earlier said that AESO would be reviewing designs as they progress with power line builder AltaLink and the system will be fully tested during a year-long commissioning process.

Enmax has opposed the province’s multi-billion power line plans, arguing they aren’t needed. The company has also taken issue with some of the technical difficulties connected with adding DC power lines to existing AC networks.

The hearing into the proposal to build a $1.4-billion power line from generators at Genesee southwest of Edmonton to Langdon near Calgary has wrapped up until July 4.

Now in its third week, the hearing has largely involved a cross-examination of a panel of AltaLink representatives by various landowner groups and individuals opposed to various aspects of the project including preferred and alternate routes.

Future sessions will include presentations from intervenors. The hearing to consider the application to approve the Western Alberta Transmission Line is expected to last four to six weeks.

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