The AUC ensures its environmental and wildlife protection requirements and related conditions and orders are followed.​

The construction, operation and maintenance of Alberta electricity and natural gas utility infrastructure are subject to Alberta’s environmental laws and regulations and generally subject to specific guidance from Alberta Environment and Parks and from the Alberta Utilities Commission.

The AUC considers environmental matters in every f​acility project decision. As part of the AUC mandate, it protects social, economic and environmental interests of Alberta where competitive forces do not.​

​The co​nstruction, operation and maintenance of Alberta electricity and natural gas utility infrastructure are subject to Alberta’s environmental laws and regulations and generally subject to specific guidance from Alberta Environment and Parks and from the AUC.

  • Projects must comply with requirements. Approval of facilities such as power plants, substations, and transmission lines must comply with Environmental Protection Guidelines for Transmission Lines and may be required to consult with the Alberta Environment and Parks department as part of the requirements in Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations and Hydro Developments. In some cases Environment and Parks will need to review all environmental aspects of the project before an application is submitted.
  • Environmental concerns must be considered as part of every application. Power plants and transmission facilities must include Alberta Environment and Parks’ final assessment of the environmental impacts.
  • Specific conditions may be a condition attached to the approval of a project. In some cases, there are conditions attached to AUC approval decisions, often to address and mitigate environmental issues. These conditions are specified in the decisions, orders and licences issued for a project.
  • Post-construction monitoring of the project site may be required. Commission decision conditions often include requirements to conduct and report on environmental and/or wildlife surveys in the project area for a set timeframe.
  • Non-compliance with conditions and requirements are monitored, and if necessary, they are investigated and enforced. If the AUC is notified of an issue of non-compliance with acceptable levels of environmental impact or of non-compliance with the conditions of project approvals it can investigate using input from Environment and Parks and it can enforce compliance with the decision. If it is an issue within Environment and Parks mandate that department is responsible for enforcement.

Examples of environmental or wildlife conditions that the AUC considers are:

  • Conditions for wind power plant owners to conduct bird and bat mortality monitoring and implement mitigations as necessary.
  • Conditions for transmission line owners to conduct post-construction clean-up and reclamation.
  • Conditions for owners of electrical facilities to adhere to any environmental protection commitments deemed necessary by the Commission through its approval process.

AUC’s decisions, orders and licences as well as the conditions attached to approvals are shared publicly, reported and monitored through the AUC’s eFiling System.​

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Noise issues

The AUC sets and enforces specific requirements regarding noise associated with regulated utility infrastructure.

  • This includes wind turbine electricity generating facilities, hydro generating facilities, electricity transmission substations, and consumer natural gas pipeline compressor stations.
  • The AUC’s requirements on noise are set out in Rule 012: Noise Control. This rule sets out acceptable noise levels, acceptable means to measure and calculate noise levels and a process to evaluate noise complaints related to a regulated facility.
  • Regulated utility operators in Alberta are required by law and subject to penalties to comply with Rule 012.
  • Predicted noise levels are intended to influence where applicants ultimately propose to locate facilities in planned utility development (although the AUC may, based on evidence, vary these beyond minimums). Certain municipalities have other specific requirements, to which the AUC encourages adherence.
  • Utility developers/operators applying to the AUC are generally required to include in their applications noise level prediction studies and an explanation as to how their proposed facilities will meet AUC noise requirements, including any mitigation measures.
  • Required material about noise levels (called noise impact assessments) filed in AUC proceedings is subject to scrutiny and potential-cross examination by interveners who may be affected by proposed developments.
  • Cumulative noise impacts are considered by the Commission when rendering decisions on the development of regulated utility infrastructure.
  • In instances of noise complaints, the AUC investigates and the Commission may issue an order to rectify a situation where it finds requirements have been breached.​​