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This proposed project involves the construction of an above-ground 72-kV transmission line from the Poundmaker substation (18944 105 Avenue) to the Meadowlark substation (15404 84 Avenue).

Project update

Since September 2016, we have discussed the proposed project with over 850 stakeholders. We assessed the input we received from occupants, residents, homeowners and businesses through one on one consultations completed in person, at one of our open houses, or over the phone.  As a result of discussions with stakeholders and other new information, we have refined our preliminary routes and incorporated additional routing options for consideration.  These changes were included in a project update package distributed to residents near the project in December, 2017 and are outlined under the project details tab below.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in the consultation process to date.

Project details

Project background

This proposed project involves upgrading the transmission system in Edmonton.  It will improve the reliability of the transmission system and reduce the risk of customer outages.

The proposed project includes:

  • Constructing approximately 11 km of above-ground 72 kilovolt (kV) transmission line from the Poundmaker substation (18944 105 Avenue) to the Meadowlark substation (15404 84 Avenue).
  • Adding two 72 kV circuit breakers and associated switches and equipment to the Meadowlark substation. This is a revision from the information included in the original project notice, which indicated that one circuit breaker was required.
  • Adding one 240 kV/72 kV transformer, one 240 kV circuit breaker, one 72 kV circuit breaker and associated switches and equipment to the Poundmaker substation.
  • Expanding the existing fences at both the Poundmaker and Meadowlark substations. This is a revision from the information included in the original project notice regarding the Meadowlark substation. 

Poundmaker substation

   

Meadowlark substation 

   

Transmission line route location update

During the process of determining potential routes, we took the following factors into consideration in an effort to find routes with the lowest overall impact:

  • Residential
  • Environmental
  • Electrical
  • Cost
  • Visual
  • Special Constraints

We previously notified those living in the area of the routes we identified for the proposed transmission line.  We proposed these route options because they generally follow existing linear disturbances such as roadways, designated transportation utility corridors, and existing distribution utility right-of-ways.  When we refine routes or develop additional routes, we consider the factors listed above, any new information and consultation feedback.

Routing refinements

As outlined on the map below, several refinements were made to the routes included in our notice from September 2016. These changes were made in response to stakeholder feedback and other new information.  These refinements include alignment changes and proposing an above ground connection to the Meadowlark substation.  

Additional routes under consideration

Based on feedback received and additional routing assessments, we attempted to reduce potential project related impacts by adding several routing alternatives that we will be consulting on over the coming months. These additional routes are shown on the map below. 

 

Additional routing information

Based on feedback collected at earlier stages of the project, the following images were developed to help stakeholders visualize the project.

What is a transportation/utility corridor (TUC)?

The Government of Alberta established Restricted Development Areas (RDAs) in the mid-1970s, the lands in these areas were designated for TUC uses.  As defined by the Government of Alberta the intended primary uses within TUCs are linear transportation and utility facilities, which includes power transmission lines. 

Future routing decisions

At this time, a preferred route has not been selected.  After consulting on the routing refinements and new routing alternatives mentioned above, the project team will prepare a Facility Application to be filed in Spring 2018 with the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC).  This application will present a preferred route and any potential alternative routes identified by EPCOR. Following submission of the application, the public will continue to be able to provide feedback to both EPCOR and the AUC for consideration.  If approved, the AUC will make the final decision on routing and one route will be approved for construction. 

Timeline

Timeline

Proposed structure

Proposed structure type

The typical structures we are planning on using will be either wood or composite poles, ranging in height from approximately 18 to 26 metres. The poles will be single circuit, meaning they will have three wires strung across them and one overhead shield wire on top (refer to Structures A and B below). The diameter of the typical structures at the grounds surface will range between approximately 0.65 to 1.0 metres.

 

A portion of the proposed route follows an existing double-circuit distribution line, meaning they have two sets of three wires strung across them, one set on top of the other (shown as Route Segment H on the map). For this section, we propose to use the existing utility right-of-ways. This will involve removing and replacing some of the existing poles (approximately 14 metres tall) and installing new poles (as mentioned above ranging from 18 to 26 metres in height) that will have the new transmission line on top and one of the existing distribution circuits underneath (refer to Structure C). One of the existing distribution circuits will be removed and relocated below ground.

 

A portion of Route Segment B (from the Poundmaker Substation to approximately 172 St NW) follows an existing 240-kV transmission line that is only strung on one side of the structure.  For this section, we propose to string the 72-kV transmission line on the unstrung side (refer to Structure D below). 

 

The images shown below (Structures E, F, and G) represent examples of the non-typical structures that we may be required to use at certain locations along the transmission line, including where the line turns corners, has to span larger distances, or cross existing transmission lines. Non-typical structures may be wood, composite, or steel, ranging in height from approximately 18 to 34 metres.  The diameter of the non-typical structures at the grounds surface will range between approximately 1.0 to 1.5 metres.

 

Transmission lines and substations

Transmission lines are like highways, moving high-voltage electricity from generating stations to distribution points (called substations) where the high-voltage electricity gets stepped down to lower voltages.

Distribution lines

Once voltages are stepped down at a substation, the electricity travels along distribution wires.  These lines are the ones that leave a substation and make their way to our homes or businesses. 

Consultation update

Consultation update

Throughout our discussions with stakeholders, various concerns and questions were brought forward. The following section outlines some of the more frequent feedback communicated by stakeholders, as well as how we have addressed or how we will address the concern.

Environmental considerations

Stakeholders told us it is important to minimize potential impacts to the environment. In addition to refinements made to previously proposed routing to avoid or reduce potential impacts, additional routing was also developed that collectively considered potential environmental impacts. This included limiting disturbance to existing vegetation and natural areas, focusing on disturbed/developed areas (transportation corridors, industrial areas) and placing routing near other existing developments.  Environmental impacts will be assessed as part of our Facility Application to the AUC.

Visual impacts

In order to reduce the potential visual impacts associated with the project, where possible, existing linear disturbances (roads, transmission/distribution lines) were followed or overbuilt and routing in residential and recreational areas was minimized to reduce the potential visual impacts associated with the project.

In determining routing options, we strive to be separated from residences while minimizing impacts to existing and planned underground utilities and infrastructure. For example, along Whitemud Drive, a major transportation corridor, proposed routing has been located as far from residences to the north as possible while still complying with separation requirements from the roadway and other subsurface utilities. 

Construction impacts

We understand that construction impacts can be challenging; however, they are generally short term in nature and our construction staff will work as quickly and safely as possible to minimize any potential inconvenience. All proposed work space for the project will be safe and secure and construction activities will comply with the City of Edmonton bylaws. These include occupational health and safety requirements, as well as EPCOR's internal health, safety and environment program. It is anticipated that work will be generally undertaken between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. and it will comply with the City of Edmonton's Community Standards bylaw for noise control.  You can expect to see activity that is typical to construction, including company or contractor vehicles and equipment in your neighbourhood.  If approvals are granted, we anticipate that outages will be required in certain areas throughout construction.  If a planned service power interruption is required in your area, we will notify you in advance. 

If the AUC approves the facility application, we will provide you with more detailed information regarding potential construction impacts prior to any work starting.

Noise

We do not anticipate an increased level of noise as a result of the proposed project and its operation.  As part of the AUC's requirements, a Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) will be completed and submitted with the Facility Application to ensure that the proposed project will not exceed permissible sound levels (PSL).

The location of Route A in the transportation utility corridor

We worked with Alberta Transportation, Alberta Infrastructure, and other stakeholders in the area to find a potential route that addresses numerous interests along the Transportation Utility Corridor (TUC).  These interests include a location that would minimize impacts to residences, reduce potential environmental impacts, and consider proximity to existing and planned infrastructure within the TUC. 

Underground routing alternatives

The costs associated with installing underground transmission facilities are considerably more expensive than overhead. As a result, when evaluating potential routes and route refinements, EPCOR generally only considers underground transmission lines when there is not a viable above ground option.

Regulatory process

The regulatory process

The AESO is responsible for determining the proposed transmission development, which involves adding the transmission line and the equipment at the Meadowlark and Poundmaker substations. The AESO will submit a Needs Identification Document (NID) with the AUC in spring, 2018 in support of this project.

The project team is preparing a Facility Application to be filed in spring 2018 with the AUC. Feedback we receive from stakeholders regarding the project will be incorporated as part of the Facility Application.

The AUC must approve the Needs Identification Document and the Facility Application before upgrades to the transmission system can begin. The final decision on routing will be made by the AUC and, although more than one route may be proposed by EPCOR, the AUC will approve one route. No construction can begin until all required approvals are in place.

WETUP_reg_6.jpg

More about the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)

The AESO is an independent, not-for-profit organization responsible for the safe, reliable, and economic planning and operation of the provincial transmission grid. For more information about why this project is needed, please refer to the AESO's Updated Need Overview or visit their website. If you have any questions or concerns about the need for this project you may contact the AESO directly or you can make concerns known to an EPCOR representative who will communicate them to the AESO on your behalf. This process may include disclosure of your personal information to the AESO.

More about the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC)

The AUC is an independent, quasi-judicial agency of the province of Alberta. The AUC is responsible to ensure that the delivery of Alberta's utility service takes place in the public interest. The AUC must approve this project before upgrades to the system can begin. For more information about how you can participate in the process, please visit the AUC website.

Additional information

Transmission lines/substations and property values

Do transmission lines and substations have an effect on property values? It’s a fair question and one often asked – unfortunately there’s no simple answer. Many factors can affect market prices of real estate including market trends, proximity to existing, new and planned developments, schools transportation and other amenities. The existence of transmission infrastructure is only one factor out of many that would be considered by a prospective buyer – some factors are more or less important to different buyers.

Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF)

We recognize that people are concerned about EMF, which exist everywhere there is electricity. We treat these concerns very seriously and are guided by EMF research that is compiled and reviewed by national and international health agencies, including Health Canada and the World Health Organization. We provide information to people who have questions to keep them informed about the status of EMF research and typical levels of EMF from various sources.

After more than 40 years of research that includes thousands of studies and numerous reviews by health agencies, Health Canada and the World Health Organization have not concluded that typical exposures to EMF from above-ground power lines have any known health consequences.

Electrical definitions

​Transmission line

Transmission lines carry high voltage electricity across long distances to substations, where the power is then stepped down to lower voltages that can be used in homes and businesses. Transmission lines voltages range from 72 kilovolts (72,000 volts) to 500 kilovolts (500,000 volts).

Distribution line

Once voltages are stepped down (e.g. reduced) at a substation, the electricity cruises along distribution wires. These lines are the ones that leave a substation and make their way to a home or business. Distribution voltages are lower, ranging from 120 volts to 25,000 volts.

Substation

Substations are where electricity is stepped down from high voltage electricity to lower voltage that can be used in our homes and businesses. Substations can include equipment such as transformers, circuit breakers, current limiting equipment and communications equipment.

Volt (V)

A volt is a unit of electric potential that specifies the amount of electric force carried through a power line.

Kilovolt (KV)

A kilovolt is a thousand volts.

Circuit breaker

A circuit breaker is an automatic switch that protects electrical equipment from overloading. A breaker is an electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or a short circuit. When a breaker detects a problem, it trips and immediately stops electrical flow.

Utility right-of-way

Utility right-of-ways are designated areas for utilities including power poles, underground powerlines, water, swear, telephone, gas and telecommunication lines. Most utility right-of-ways in Edmonton are located on city property.

Contact us

Contact us

As we move forward, we are committed to consulting with you.  We will continue to involve you in the process, address your concerns and to respond to your questions.  Your feedback regarding this project is important to us and will be directly incorporated into the Facility Application that we will file with the AUC.

If you have any questions or would like to provide input on the project, please contact us:

(780) 412-4040

consultation@epcor.com
www.epcor.com/consultation

For more information about the need for this project please contact:

Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)

(888) 866-2959
Stakeholder.relations@aeso.ca
poweringalberta.com

For more information about the regulatory process please contact:

Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC)
(780) 427-4903 (for toll-free access, dial 310-0000 before the 10 digit number)

auc.ab.ca