The 2022 Alberta Electric System Operator's (AESO) long-term plan has identified a need to construct a new 240/138kV substation in West Lethbridge by 2028, along with a new 138kV transmission line connecting the new substation to Lethbridge's existing 674S Substation located just south of Copperwood.
As per a recommendation from the Civic Works Standing Policy Committee, which heard a presentation on September 1, Lethbridge City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve one-time funding from the Electric Reserve of $500,000 to complete the Chinook Trail Functional Planning Study in 2023.
As per the Alberta Utility Commission (AUC) requirements, two transmission paths are to be proposed and evaluated. There is already an approved Transmission Right of Way along Métis Trail. The second option being proposed would be within the future Chinook Trail corridor.
The Chinook Trail Functional Planning Study is required to make an informed decision and develop a proper design and estimate for the cost to construct. The study is required in 2023 in order to meet approval and construction timelines.
"This decision will help achieve the overall reliability of the Electric Grid," says Acting Mayor Crowson, who is also Chair of the Civic Works SPC. "It will help the City of Lethbridge meet the needs and requirements of AESO and the Alberta Utility Commission along with other partners such as AltaLink, Lethbridge County, landowners and other stakeholders."
"The 2022 AESO long-term plan has identified a need to modify the Lethbridge area transmission network," says Jason Drenth, General Manager - Electric Utility. "AESO will recommend these needs to the AUC who then can approve the project and funding of the transmission costs. The system is connected to and makes up a part of the Alberta Electric Interconnected System and is required to meet the requirements of the AUC and AESO set out in the Alberta Electric Utilities Act."
Funding will be recovered as part of Transportation's long-term Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget. Engagement with AESO has been done through the roll-out of their long-term plan with additional follow-up meetings. As part of the selection process, engagement will proceed as part of the AUC requirements involving all affected parties.