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AltaLink – Castle Rock Ridge to Chapel Rock Transmission Project – Request for Support of Review

October 9, 2015

Dear Members – LLG:

AltaLink – Castle Rock Ridge to Chapel Rock Transmission Project – Request for Support of Review

In September 2014, AltaLink announced plans to build a transmission line from Castle Rock Ridge to Chapel Rock (CRRCR) northwest of Pincher Creek. The Livingstone Landowners Guild (LLG) became involved immediately over concerns with the route options that all run along the iconic Highway 22 corridor or the gateway to the Crowsnest Pass south of Highway 3, then cross the highway into the environmentally sensitive Eastern Slopes of the Livingstone Mountain Range.

LLG first engaged AltaLink and Alberta Electrical Systems Operator (AESO, who hired AltaLInk) with economic, environmental and aesthetic concerns of such a proposed transmission line and large substation. LLG is in favour of Green energy but there is a large concentration in the MD of Pincher Creek area already. The proliferation of transmission infrastructure will put us in the position that ratepayers will potentially be paying more for transmission than energy.  It is an affront to rate payers to pay these costs if the infrastructure is either unnecessary or overbuilt for a changing energy production model.

The LLG Board of Directors sent letters to AESO and the previous Premier and various involved Ministers, requesting a review of the need for this $750 million transmission project.  Our objections to the line were based on the following:

  • The estimated cost of the project has increased from $180 million dollars when first approved eight years ago to $750 as stated by AltaLink recently. This expense and ballooning cost warrants a formal review.
  • The transmission line is no longer needed for the purpose it was approved for eight years ago. Turbine technology has changed making wind farm development possible and in fact favoured in regions other than Pincher Creek. For green power reliability and consistency to the grid, wind farms should be spread along existing transmission infrastructure, not condensed in Pincher Creek.
  • The routing options would permanently and negatively impact the environmentally sensitive eastern slope of the Livingstone and its intact grasslands.
  • The routing options do not follow the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan that was put in place by government to insure industrial development would use existing disturbed corridors to avoid fragmentation of native grasslands and environmentally sensitive areas. The Eastern slope of the Livingstone is an important wildlife corridor.
  • The routing options would all permanently and negatively impact the landscape of the scenic Cowboy Trail along Highway 22 or alternately the gateway to the Crowsnest Pass along Highway 3.

With the change in government, we then sent similar letters to the new Premier and Ministers. In June, the MD of Pincher Creek Council sent an official letter to AESO requesting a formal review of the need for this proposed line after LLG presented our position at the MD Council Meeting.

Response so far to our efforts has been dismissive by AESO and non-committal by the government. Meanwhile, AltaLink has continued to push forward and is in the final stages of determining their preferred and alternate routes for submission to the AESO and AUC, most likely in November.  

“Proceeding 20846 – CRRCR Transmission Project – AltaLink – Request for Review”

In September we wrote to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) requesting a review of the need for this project. They replied that we must first register and then submit an application to have the line reviewed before they would consider undergoing a formal review.

LLG therefore officially registered an application on September 18, for Review of Decision 2009-126 with the AUC, who approved the need for this line six years ago. LLG posted to the AUC proceeding, a letter sent to Mr. Douglas A. Larder, QC (General Counsel – AUC) that provides an introduction, background of our consultations with AESO and AltaLink and the basis for LLG’s request for review of the CRRCR project. 

While our efforts on behalf of the LLG has raised the issue in the media, with AltaLink and AESO and with the Alberta government and the AUC, we have been advised that our application would be significantly strengthened if other concerned groups and individuals also file their support of this proceeding.  We have reached out to a number of groups who share our position and concern on this project and asked for their support.

As individual LLG members, you are also encouraged to participate in supporting Proceeding 20846. You may also choose to send individual letters to the Premier, Ministers of Energy and Environment and Parks. Their contact information is provided below. 

If you choose to express your support with the AUC as a Participant and upload your document to Proceeding 20846, please refer to the information below. Submissions in support of Proceeding 20846 must be registered with the AUC on or before Monday, October 19, 2015.

How to use AUC’s eFiling system to register and make a filing to support Application for Review of Decision 2009-126; Proceeding 20846

To provide your support of LLG’s request for a review of the CRRCR Transmission Project:

  • Register a user account on AUC’s eFiling system 
  • Register as a Participant to upload your document to Proceeding 20846

Please contact the AUC information desk: info@auc.ab.ca or 403-592-4500 for assistance with the process of creating a user account, registering as a participant and uploading your document. The AUC staff are happy to help you access and use their eFiling system quickly and efficiently.

Alternately, instructions for accessing the AUC eFiling system can be found via this link: http://www.auc.ab.ca/applications/filing-an-application/Pages/ElectronicFilingSystems.aspx

Application for Review of Decision 2009-126 

Proceeding 20846 – CRRCR Transmission Project – AltaLink – Request for Review of Need
Application: 20846-A001; Category: Review and variance
Type: Independent system operator decision review – stage 1
Primary applicant: Livingstone Landowners Guild

Thank you for your prompt attention to this information and request. Please contact me if you have comments or need more information.

Sincerely,

Ted Smith, President
Livingstone Landowners Guild (tetleycreek@gmail.com)

Contact information:

Premier Rachel Notley
Legislature Office
307 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB  T5K 2B6
Phone: 780 427-2251
(premier@gov.ab.ca)

Hon. Margaret McCuaig-Boyd
Minister of Energy
Legislature Office
408 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB  T5K 2B6
Phone: 780 427-3740
(minister.energy@gov.ab.ca)

Hon. Shannon Phillips
Minister of Environment and Parks
Legislature Office
425 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB  T5K 2B6
Phone: 780 427-2391
(AEP.minister@gov.ab.ca)