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Power line slowed by cash crunch; Montana link faces $5.8M shortfall  

Credit:  By Dina O'Meara, Calgary Herald, www.calgaryherald.com 28 June 2011 ~~

Lack of funds has slowed action on the proposed 300-megawatt Alberta Montana Tie Line transmission line, the company behind the province’s first intertie with the U.S. said.

Costs have escalated on the proposed $213 million US merchant power line, which would flow electricity from wind farms in each jurisdiction to their respective power grids, said Tonbridge Power Inc.

Regulatory delays, a contentious court decision, landowner and contractor disputes have increased costs by about $25 million US on the Lethbridge to Great Falls, Mont., line, the Toronto-based company said in a news release.

“This represents an increase to the $5.8-million US shortfall estimate previously disclosed . . . in respect of the 2010 year end,” Tonbridge said.

“The company’s current credit facilities are insufficient to fund this shortfall. As a result, management is in discussion with its lenders, stakeholders and others to address this estimated funding gap.”

The company said it needed to speak more at length with stakeholders to determine exactly how much additional funding will be required.

Tonbridge proposed the 280-kilovolt line in 2005, starting construction on the project in late 2009. Work in Alberta was stopped in March due to permitting restrictions, and earlier in Montana on contractor disputes.

The merchant line, the first to connect Alberta with the U.S. directly, has a planned 300-megawatt capacity, north and south.

Flows into Alberta were contracted out quickly. However, commitments from Alberta power generators were slower to appear.

Landowners on both sides of the border have been arguing against the line, leading to a Montana judge ruling in December the developer did not have the authority to demand access to land via a clause called eminent domain.

The line would impinge on approximately 113 landowners in Alberta and 250 landowners in Montana.

Source:  By Dina O'Meara, Calgary Herald, www.calgaryherald.com 28 June 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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