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Power project won’t export electricity to U. S.: province

6 September 2009 1,254 views No Comment

The 500,000-volt Heartland Transmission Project will not be used to export power from Alberta, government and energy officials said on Thursday.

Sturgeon County Mayor Don Rigney told 25 municipalities at the Capital Region Board meeting the lines were part of a grid plan that would be used to export Alberta power to the United States.

He cited Treasury Board president Lloyd Snelgrove as the source of his information, and questioned whether Albertans should have to pay for power lines that will only benefit power companies and Americans.

Rigney also questioned whether the transmission lines were necessary since work has slowed on seven of the eight upgraders slated for the Heartland region he represents.

A spokesman for Snelgrove said the Vermillion-Lloydminster MLA never said the transmission lines would be used for export.

Snelgrove “tells me he did not say that, he would not have said it, and that it wasn’t implied,” Treasury Board spokesman Gerald Kastendieck said. The Alberta Electric System Operator and Alberta Energy also denied plans to export energy from the province using the transmission lines, which will connect the industrial heartland area near Fort Saskatchewan with an existing transmission line in Edmonton.

“It is not for export,” Alberta Energy spokesman Jerry Bellikka said.

“This is to be able to build a grid to keep the lights on in the province long term. If people continue using as much power as they are and the economy continues to grow, we need to build a grid to support it.”

AESO spokeswoman Ally Taylor said the province is a net importer of power, and has been for the past six years. In 2008, she said the province imported over two million MWH, and exported less than a quarter of that amount. Transmission lines are built to support decades of growth, she said, and the organization anticipates the economy will recover and demand for energy in the Heartland will increase. “Heartland lines are being built to connect generation in the Wabamun area west of Edmonton to the Heartland. They are not being built for export.”

The Capital Region Board will decide Sept. 17 whether it will take a position on the controversial project. The motion before the board recommends sending a letter to the province and proponents encouraging them to bury the lines and use existing transmission corridors.


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