Alberta power line review kicks off in Calgary
Independent hearings over controversial lines will move to Edmonton next week
The independent review of two proposed power lines in Alberta started Tuesday morning in Calgary.
The review committee is examining whether the new transmission lines — the Western Alberta Transmission Line through the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, and the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line from northeast of Edmonton to Brooks — are needed.
The review was launched following a commitment made by Premier Alison Redford.
The four-person committee will hear from power companies, industry associations and municipalities.
"We sent out invitations in the middle of December, probably 75 per cent of them have responded that they will appear," said committee chair Brian Heidecker.
"Another group are just sending in submissions but choosing not to appear and we are getting some letters directly from interested Albertans."
Controversy over the proposed power lines has been swirling for years.
Alberta Electric System Operator, the province’s independent electrical system operator, maintains the lines are needed to deal with congestion on the existing lines.
The lines will replace infrastructure that's more than 40 years old and ensure the stability of the grid.
But critics counter that the power lines aren't needed and landowners living in the corridor aren't keen to have more of their land taken up by large towers required for the transmission lines.
The panel will take public submissions — both in person and in writing — over the next week and will submit a final report to Energy Minister Ted Morton by Feb. 10.
The hearings will move to Edmonton next week.