The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) has granted Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. a permit to construct and license to operate a 346-km, 230-kV AC international power line (IPL) from the County of Lethbridge, Alberta to a substation near Great Falls, Montana. The EUB concluded that MATL has met all the conditions set out in Decision Report 2008-006 when it granted conditional approval of the IPL on January 31, 2008. The EUB approval is the final major Canadian regulatory requirement for the MATL transmission line.

“We are very pleased to receive the EUB’s approval,” said Bob Williams, MATL vice president, Regulatory. “We want to thank all the landowners who have and continue to meet and work with us.” An EUB condition required MATL to engage directly-impacted landowners in a formalized appropriate dispute resolution process to reconcile unresolved issues.

“We’re still meeting, talking, listening and negotiating,” said James McCorquodale, MATL’s Land Manager. ”MATL will make formal offers to landowners throughout the summer.”

The MATL IPL ties together the Alberta and Montana power grids lending more stability to both electricity systems. Montana-based wind farms have purchased all of the capacity on the line with plans to export power to the growing Alberta market.

“We have worked to develop a route and facilities that minimize the impacts on landowners, farming operations and the environment on both sides of the border,” said Williams. “Intense public scrutiny has made this a much better project.”

As part of the project, MATL will build a substation in the County of Lethbridge to intertie with the Alberta transmission grid near the Old Man River north of Coaldale, Alberta. The substation will have the capacity to handle more than just the MATL line; generators in the area may also access the grid through this substation. “The MATL inter-tie means a more reliable supply of power for people on both sides of the border,” added Williams.

The U.S. regulatory approval process continues to progress as well. A joint Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and US Department of Energy (DOE) final Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) is expected to be released later this summer, clearing the way for the issuing of final permits approving construction and operation of the MATL line in Montana.