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The Alberta government says new high-voltage transmission lines are critical to meeting future power demands.

Calgary-based electrical transmitter AltaLink plans to start public consultation next month over a controversial power line between Calgary and Edmonton.

The proposed $1 billion line would carry power from generating stations west of Edmonton to just east of Calgary.

On Monday AltaLink mailed 7,500 information packages to homes and landowners along the potential route options and mailed 17,000 open house invitations to stakeholders.

A previous discussion about such a power transmission route met with stiff opposition from central Alberta landowners and was mired in controversy after allegations of spying on landowners who opposed the project.

Leigh Clarke, AltaLink's senior vice-president of external engagement, said the company has no preferred route for the line. The final proposal will still have to be approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission.

"All options are on the table currently for this line," said Clarke. "No decisions have been made and we will be listening to Albertans and landowners for their input on where they think the best plot for this line is. Everything's on the table."

AltaLink proposes to use higher voltage Direct Current (DC) technology for the line, which would produce a lower environmental footprint.

"The towers are typically smaller, the line will be more efficient, and offers the benefit of scalability — meaning we can build the line to a certain capacity but energize it to what we need today," said Clarke. "Then, as Alberta’s demand for power grows, we can increase the capacity of the line by adding additional equipment at each end, reducing the need to disturb more land with new lines."

AltaLink plans to hold 12 open houses between Edmonton and Calgary in February.