Canada's National Energy Board has issued a permit to Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. (MATL) to construct and operate the Canadian portion of an international power line (IPL) between Lethbridge, Alberta, and Great Falls, Montana.
The IPL will cover a total distance of 347 km of which 130 km will be located in Canada. It will be the first major interconnection between Alberta and the United States. MATL will be constructing a new 230 kV substation and a phase shifting transformer near Lethbridge. This substation will control the direction of the flow allowing power to be transferred in either direction. MATL proposes to begin construction in September 2007.
This line is the first merchant IPL transmission line located in Alberta to be approved by the NEB. Typically, the builders of a merchant line assume the full cost of construction. The owner of the line provides transmission service to those wishing to transmit power. Any person or company wishing to export electricity on the MATL line must do so in accordance with a permit or licence issued by the NEB.
The NEB performed an environmental screening of the project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The approval of this project is subject to a number of environmental conditions.