There was electricity in the air when an Altalink representative walked into a Municipal District of Pincher Creek council meeting on Monday.
Currently, Altalink has a preferred route for its proposed 240Kv line that will connect Pincher’s future wind farms to the grid. That route runs from Goose Lake, just west of Pincher Creek to Lethbridge through Piikani and Blood lands. If Altalink doesn’t receive approval from the two tribes, company representative, Conrad Journault said there are two alternate routes in the works. Those routes have MD councillors shooting sparks.
Councillor Bjorn Berg would be one of the landowners affected by the alternate lines. On his land, just south of the Porcupine Hills, one of the proposed towers would obstruct his view from the Summerview area all the way to Fort Macleod.
“If you plan to put the tower there, it becomes another linear feature,” pointed out Berg. “In terms of access it’s the worst possible route.”
Council understands that Summerview’s windfarms need to be tied into the transmission lines somehow; however, they would prefer one line be built initially, rather than have the preferred route plus an additional line connecting Summerview to that route.
Currently, Altalink’s preferred route doesn’t include Summerview, leaving Council to believe another line would have to be built in the future in order to provide service to an area with a growing number of windmills.
Not including Summerview in the original plans has council baffled.
“If the need for this new line is to get wind generation out of the area and Summerview area is a good chunk, why build two lines?” asked Councillor Rod Zielinski. Council suggested Altalink build one line only that includes Summerview in its initial plans.
According to Councillor Berg, planning has been ongoing since 2003 and not a single thing has been built.
“We’re talking millions of dollars lost with you diddling around,” said Berg. “My view is you get off your butt and do your job.”
Journault doesn’t disagree with having one line rather than two and explained it is very difficult coordinating power lines and proposed the MD, Alberta Electric System Operator and Altalink plan a future workshop.
By Angela Hill
27 June 2008
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