Alberta’s energy regulator has approved the construction and operation of a power line into the province from Montana.
The Montana Alberta Tie-Line has been given conditional approval for the 230-kilovolt power line that will import and export electricity between Lethbridge, Alta., and Great Falls, Mont.
The Alberta Energy and Utility Board said in a news release late Thursday afternoon that the Montana company must hold discussions with affected landowners along the approved route “to address the mitigation of specific impacts” on them.
The board also ordered that Montana-Alberta Tie-Line must report back to them about this process by April 30.
The board says it will not issue a permit for the project “until it is satisfied that MATL has satisfied this requirement.”
The $129 million project was approved by the National Energy Board last April and the Alberta board was the last step.
A group of 22 area landowners who oppose the project say the line will devalue their land, interfere with personal electronic devices, prevent aerial spraying and cause health problems.
The Alberta Utilities Commission, which replaced the board as of Jan. 1, will regulate the power line once full approval is given.
MATL was created to take advantage of Alberta government policies and regulations and ship electricity to markets for its power generating customers.
At public hearings into the line last fall, MATL officials pushed for a decision to come down early in 2008.
Officials said the electrical line must be finished by the end of 2008 to meet contractual agreements with several customers who will rent the line to market electricity from a planned wind farm project in Montana.
Bob Williams, MATL vice-president of regulation, told the hearing that the transmission line will introduce a new source of renewable electricity at both ends of the transmission line, almost like new generating capacity has been developed in southern Alberta.
He said that source of energy should lead to reliability and stability in electricity supplies, and continued economic growth in Alberta.
The Canadian Press
31 January 2008
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