Underground transmission of high-voltage power lines is one option for consideration under a new study of electricity system technologies to be commissioned by Alberta Energy.
“It’s important for us to explore all options for strengthening our transmission system,” said Energy Minister Mel Knight. “We need to understand the costs and benefits of new technology before making decisions.”
In Alberta, all electricity consumers— including households, small businesses and large industrial projects— share the cost of transmission through their electricity rates.
The review will provide a comprehensive assessment and analysis of state-of-the-art electric transmission systems with specific focus on high-voltage direct current; underground; and other new developing technologies. A report is expected back to government in summer 2009.
“Getting additional transmission built in Alberta is critical to deliver reliable power service to Albertans,” said Knight. “Electricity keeps our food cold in the fridge, keeps our furnace fans blowing on cold days, lights up our rooms at home and work, and is an essential input for industry.”
A request for proposals (RFP) has been issued for the study and follows the passage of motion 504, which was sponsored by Dave Quest, MLA Strathcona. The motion, which was passed in the Legislative Assembly on April 6, stated: be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the government to immediately investigate the feasibility of constructing underground transmission lines to determine if they are a safe and viable option for transmitting high-voltage power.
An upgraded transmission system supports the goals of the Provincial Energy Strategy and its key outcome of sustained economic prosperity. Information on the strategy is available at www.energy.alberta.ca.The RFP is open to engineering firms and closes to submissions on May 22, 2009.