There can be many technical terms used to describe electricity projects. We do our best to not use technical language but here are some common definitions to help understand this project.
Transmission lines: Transmission lines are larger scale power lines that carry electricity from Substation to substation.
Distribution lines: Distribution lines are medium-voltage power lines that run throughout the city. Their voltage can range between 2,400 to 25,000 volts. Distribution lines are mainly underground in newer neighbourhoods and above-ground (pole-mounted) in older urban neighbourhoods.
Substation: This is an electricity station that converts electricity from higher voltage power lines (transmission lines) to lower voltages that can be safely distributed to homes and businesses in the area through distribution lines.
Above ground vs underground lines: Power lines can run underground or on poles above ground and are sometimes referred to as aerial lines when above ground.
Above ground transmission lines cost less for Alberta ratepayers and are faster to build. Compared to underground infrastructure, above ground lines are also easier to access to complete maintenance or repairs, enabling us to potentially restore power faster for customers. Above ground lines require less space and two separate lines can be installed along the same route.
Underground transmission lines need to be placed in concrete duct banks, like a trench. In urban areas, like Edmonton, space to install these types of duct banks is limited. Additionally, an underground double circuit transmission line, would require two separate duct banks to prevent overheating, which would require more space and cost Alberta ratepayers much more money to build.
For these reasons, we are proposing to use above ground double circuit transmission lines, which is two transmission lines along one route using mostly one set of structures.
AESO: The Alberta Electric System Operator is an independent, not-for-profit agency in Alberta that plans and expands the electrical grid by working with industry partners and the government to make sure reliable power is there when you need it.
AUC: The Alberta Utilities Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial agency of the province of Alberta who is responsible for making decisions about applications to construct, operate, upgrade and decommission electric transmission and distribution power lines that deliver electricity to Alberta homes and businesses. The AUC ensures that applications fit the electricity plan developed to meet the electricity need and forecast set by the Alberta Electric System Operator. It considers the public interest and the social, economic and environmental impacts from its decisions about proposed transmission lines.
Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy that are associated with the use of electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting. 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 concluded that typical exposures to EMF from overhead power lines does not have any known health consequences.
We are getting an EMF study completed which will include a summary of the research on EMF and projections for both the 72 kV and 240 kV transmission lines. If you would like to receive this information when it is available,
we can add you to the distribution list.
Voltage: In common terms, this is the ‘pressure’ of the electricity being measured. The typical home has a 120 & 240 volt electrical service. A kilovolt (kV) is 1,000 volts. The voltage of the power lines on the power poles behind people’s homes are 15kV or 25kV. The transmission lines being proposed in this project are double-circuit 72kV and 240kV power lines.
Facility Application: This is the application package that EPCOR will submit to the Alberta Utilities Commission to request permission for construction of the project. It will contain a preferred and alternate routes for the proposed power lines as well as a record of the public consultation program. The Commission will decide whether or not to approve the project based off this package as well as other public input it may receive.
Public Hearing: After EPCOR completes community consultations and submits its Facility Application, the Alberta Utilities Commission will determine if a public hearing is required. If needed, this is a public meeting where impacted stakeholders can address Commission officials to register concerns they may have with the project.