All new electric transmission facilities (with the exception of a small number of projects classified as critical transmission infrastructure) require two separate approvals from the AUC: (i) an approval of the need for new facilities as set out in a needs identification document (NID) filed by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) under the Electric Utilities Act; and (ii) an approval of a facility application for the specific siting or routing of the new facilities, which is made by a transmission facility owner under the Hydro and Electric Energy Act. In a facility application, the Commission considers if approval of the proposed facilities is in the public interest having regard to the project’s social, economic and environmental effects. A facility application may be considered by the Commission in conjunction with a related NID application, or on its own following approval of a NID. Transmission facilities include transmission lines and substations.

The issues typically considered in transmission facility decisions include:

  • Consultation – includes adequacy, scope of consultation with landowners, other interested parties.
  • Property impacts – includes property value, agricultural impacts, business impacts, future development impacts.
  • Health and safety – includes electromagnetic fields (EMF).
  • Routing and siting – includes route development, route/site choice (preferred or alternative), transportation utility corridors, structure choice, construction impacts.
  • Environment – includes wildlife, plants, native prairie, water and water crossings.
  • Electrical effects  includes pipeline interference and mitigation, stray voltage, radio frequency interference.
  • Project cost – includes costs of preferred vs alternative routes.
  • Noise  includes noise impact assessment, post construction monitoring.
  • First Nations – includes consultation, impacts to constitutional rights.
  • Critical transmission infrastructure – whether facilities are critical transmission infrastructure as defined in the legislation.
  • Uncontested – applications with no outstanding objections, or objections were received and the AUC determined that the parties did not meet the test for standing.

Decisions for reference