Alberta Utilities Commission approves Eastern Alberta Transmission LineLandowner-generated alternates form major part of route

Alberta Government News Release – Alberta Utilities Commission
November 15, 2012

Calgary… Alberta’s independent utilities regulator has approved the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line (EATL). Landowner-generated and environmentally favourable alternative route selections affecting more than a third of the line’s length were developed, refined or introduced during the AUC proceeding, which included 13 days of public hearings in Stettler, Forestburg and Camrose in July and August 2012.

In Decision 2012-303, released today, the Alberta Utilities Commission found the application from ATCO Electric Ltd. to build the EATL project was in the public interest and met the need specified in law by the provincial government. The capital cost of the project was estimated by ATCO Electric at $1.6 billion. The EATL project, a proposed 500-kilovolt direct-current transmission line with associated converter stations and facilities, would extend approximately 500 km from the Gibbons area northeast of Edmonton to near Brooks. The need for the line was specified by the Alberta government as critical transmission infrastructure in 2009 in the Electric Statutes Amendment Act.

The AUC has approved portions of the route preferred by the applicant, and in several cases, portions of the route that the applicant submitted as alternative routing. In some cases those alternatives were developed from landowner suggestions. Overall, based on land-use, social, cost and environmental considerations, the route selected by the AUC was found to be both in the public interest and superior to other potential routes.

In its decision, the AUC lauded the positive contributions made by intervening landowners and landowner groups. “The Commission commends those parties who decided to participate in the process as the information that was presented at the hearing and through the submissions was valuable in informing the Commission about the impacts of the EATL project on individual landowners, groups of landowners, interested stakeholders and the environment,” the AUC said. “Furthermore, the Commission appreciates the participation of landowner groups at the formal hearing which generated a series of additional relevant and specific commitments by ATCO Electric. Had these intervener groups chosen not to participate, then the issues that generated the commitments may not have been raised.”

Approximately 175 km of the 500-km route that was approved aligns with landowner-generated alternatives or environmentally favourable route identification that took place during the proceeding. These portions include:

  • The 35-km Royal Park alternative (known as the blue route). This was a landowner-originated alignment that has been approved.
  • A 15-km amended route segment in the Forestburg area generated through consultation and ultimately designated as preferred by ATCO Electric and approved by the Commission as the preferred route segment.
  • Through the 100-km Andrew-Mundare-Holden segment (which includes the Royal Park alternative), environmental concerns were acknowledged and maximum separation was achieved through the choice of alternate routing. This maximized the distance from nationally- and internationally-designated important bird areas at Whitford Lake and Beaverhill Lake, the latter a Ramsar Convention on internationally important wetlands-designated site.
  • The 60-km South Holden-Forestburg segment. This alternative was chosen in part because landowners who had land on both the preferred and alternate routes favoured the alternate segment to ATCO Electric’s preferred segment.

Today’s decision marks the completion of an AUC review process that formally began in 2011, included many thousands of pages of documents, hundreds of exhibits and more than 75 witnesses. In recognition of the scope, nature and timeframe of the application, the AUC applied an enhanced process that included broad notification and provision of information, automatic standing for most parties, and multiple options for participation including community hearing sessions. The result was an open and transparent review that maximized the amount of preparation time for all participants. The application was originally received on March 29, 2011.

Today’s decision along with extensive additional information related to the EATL project application, and the AUC’s hearing process, can be found on the AUC’s website, at

The Alberta Utilities Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial agency of the province of Alberta. As part of its mandate the Commission has jurisdiction over the siting of facilities deemed to be critical transmission facilities, as well as other transmission facilities, electric power plants and natural gas transmission pipelines. The AUC regulates the utilities sector, natural gas and electricity markets to protect the social, economic and environmental interests of Alberta where competitive market forces do not.


Media inquiries may be directed to:
Jim Law
Director, External Relations, Alberta Utilities Commission
Phone: 403-512-3417
Email: [email protected]

Geoff Scotton
Senior Communications Advisor, Alberta Utilities Commission
Phone: 403-650-5774
Email: [email protected]


The Eastern Alberta Transmission Line (EATL) is one of six facilities incorporated in four projects deemed to be critical transmission infrastructure by the government of Alberta in the Electric Statutes Amendment Act, 2009.

Key features
Project proponent: ATCO Electric Ltd.
Project cost: $1.6 billion.
Length: Approximately 500 km.


  • Two 500-kilovolt alternating current/direct current converter stations; one in the Redwater-Gibbons area northeast of Edmonton (Heathfield 2029S), another in the Brooks area (Newell 2075S).
  • A 500-kilovolt direct-current transmission line connecting the Redwater-Gibbons-area converter station to the Brooks-area converter station.
  • Associated facilities. (500-kV alternating-current transmission lines, 240-kV alternating current transmission lines, optical repeater sites, fibre optic cables, etc.)

Need: Determined by the government of Alberta in the Electric Statutes Amendment Act. 2009. Confirmed in Report of the Critical Transmission Review Committee.
Application received: March 29, 2011.
Decision rendered: November 15, 2012

AUC proceeding facts:
Number of pages in evidence: Close to 20,000.
Exhibits: More than 820.
Witnesses: More than 75.

AUC information sessions held: Five. Vegreville, Lamont, Forestburg, Brooks, Hanna. (March 8 to 16, 2011.)
AUC process meeting days held: Two. Hanna (May7, 2011) and Tofield (May 20, 2011).
AUC public hearing days: 13 (Stettler, Alberta)
AUC community hearing sessions: Three. Forestburg (July 24, 2012) and two in Camrose (July 25, 2012).
AUC process: In recognition of the scale and magnitude of the proposed EATL project, the Alberta Utilities Commission employed an enhanced process to provide early opportunities for participation in the Commission’s preparations for and consideration of the application. This enhanced process included flexible options for interested parties to participate formally or informally, deemed early standing for landowner interveners (with consequent early access to intervener funding), early process meetings to identify key issues and  community hearing sessions.

November 15, 2012. AUC issues Decision 2012-303, approving the EATL project. In total, the decision is more than 380 pages.
August 20, 2012. Record of proceeding closes.
August 10, 2012. Public hearing concludes.
July 25, 2012. Community hearing session held in Camrose.
July 24, 2012. Community hearing session held in Forestburg.
July 23, 2012. Public hearing begins in Stettler, Alberta.
May 1 and 3, 2012. ATCO Electric files amendments to application adjusting and amending preferred route.
February 24, 2012. AUC issues letter to all participants notifying it is resuming consideration of application.
February 23, 2012. Government of Alberta requests the AUC resume its examination of EATL application.
February 13, 2012. Report of the Critical Transmission Review Committee is released, confirming need for reinforcement of north-south transmission as soon as possible, reasonableness of two north-south lines and improved efficacy of direct-current lines.
October 21, 2011. The AUC suspends its consideration of the EATL application at the government’s request. The government launches an independent review committee to examine the need for EATL and the Western Alberta Transmission Line, use of direct-current technology and related matters.
September 2011. ATCO Electric amends its application twice, and files related application for fibre-optic cable ajnd back-up generators at the converter stations.
May 31, 2011 EATL process decision is issued in AUC Decision 2011-237
May 20, 2011. Process meeting is held in Tofield, Alberta.
May 7, 2011. Process meeting is held in Hanna, Alberta.
April 11, 2011. AUC issues notice of application of the EATL application with proposed dates and locations and proposed proceeding schedule.
March 26 to 29, 2011. ATCO Electric Ltd. filed Eastern Alberta Transmission Line project application with the AUC. The application is more than 1,000 pages.
March 8 to 16, 2011. AUC public information sessions held in Vegreville, Lamont, Forestburg, Brooks and Hanna.
February 10, 2011. In anticipation of the application, AUC launches enhanced public process for the EATL project application with information sessions scheduled in March for Vegreville, Lamont, Forestburg, Brooks and Hanna.
January 31, 2011. ATCO Electric announces its preferred and alternate routes for the EATL project.


A stylized map of the approved route has been produced to show the basic details of the landowner-generated and AUC-approved route segments. Exact details of the routing approved by the AUC may be found in the decision itself.