Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes
Credits: STUART DRYDEN/QMI AGENCY
The Electric Utilities Amendment Act introduced Tuesday would send future projects for a complete review and approval by the Alberta Utilities Commission, not the provincial cabinet.
Energy Minister Ken Hughes said Bill 8 is a direct response to the Critical Transmission Review Committee (CTRC) report presented in February.
"This amendment ensures that Albertans have an opportunity to share their perspectives on the need for transmission infrastructure, and that decisions about the construction of future transmission lines will be made by an independent agency," Hughes said.
With the Electric Statutes Amendment Act, 2009, the government approved the need for four transmission infrastructure projects.
Those will continue as planned, including the Heartland transmission line east of Edmonton, which has sparked some protest because it will go past residential areas.
Also continuing as planned are the Edmonton to Fort McMurray transmission lines, reinforcement lines between Edmonton and Calgary (north-south lines) and a Calgary substation.
New projects, however, will be subject to the AUC needs-assessment process.
The AUC process provides the opportunity for public participation in the application process to help ensure decisions are in the best interest of Alberta, Hughes said.
"Alberta needs strong transmission as our province continues to grow," added Hughes. "Allowing the electricity regulator to determine need will give confidence to Albertans that projects moving forward will help power our homes and communities."