Ensuring electricity is supplied in a reliable and non-interruptive manner is the aim of AltaLink projects underway in and around the Sylvan Lake and Eckville area.
An existing substation near Eckville built about 50 years ago is being relocated, and its aging equipment replaced.
Such changes will “maintain the reliability of the system in the area”, according to Peter Brodsky, manager of external communications.
The new substation will be situated about 30 metres to the north of the current location, he added.
The new location was determined after feedback from residents indicated a desire to see it moved farther away.
Attempts to meet their request were made unsuccessfully.
“We did receive feedback from residents in the area about the possibility of moving it approximately 100 metres to accommodate some municipal development,” said Brodsky.
After it was determined that the substation could be moved a maximum distance of 87 metres, an amendment to the facility application was filed requesting permission from Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to do so.
“Unfortunately, they did not approve that request, and put us back to the 30 metres we were originally looking at,” said Brodsky.
He explained that the 30-metre move was initially considered by AltaLink as it had “the lowest potential for environmental impacts”.
“Although we did amend our proposal based on the request of landowners in the area, we do believe the 30-metre move is still the best one all around.”
The application was approved in October, with construction expected to begin in March of next year. Energization is expected by January 2015.
A July 2012 letter addressed to stakeholders noted that new equipment will include a circuit breaker, a switchgear building, a control building and a transformer with built-in regulator.
The letter also noted the potential signs of work on the project, including noise and the presence of construction crews.
Another project — Red Deer Area Transmission Development — has also seen upgrades made in the area.
Upgrade of the Benalto substation, which is now energized, was one of several substation upgrades made recently in the Red Deer and Sylvan Lake area as part of the project’s first stage.
Its second stage will see about 75 kilometres of existing area transmission lines rebuilt.
Although that application is currently before the AUC, construction could begin within months, according to Brodsky.
“Our hope would be that construction could begin in June 2014, with the belief that we would be done by August 2015.
That tentative schedule, however, is dependent upon the AUC, he added.
He also noted that all transmission line work will be carried out in existing road allowances and previously disturbed land.
Collecting and acknowledging stakeholders’ feedback is key to ensuring their concerns are addressed by AltaLink.
With the Benalto substation, concerns about visual impacts of the project were addressed by an AltaLink commitment to planting tree screens around it, and in “areas where it makes sense to minimize the visual disturbance that may be of concern”, according to Brodsky.
Noise levels, another concern for many, comply with AUC Rule 012 – Noise Control.
“We’re very careful to make sure that we respect that,” said Brodsky.
Information about both projects, including maps, is available on AltaLink’s website at www.altalink.ca.