Proposed substation connector power line under scrutiny from landowners

Opposition is growing to a proposed power line route in Cypress County that would connect a new wind power project to substations near Medicine Hat.

The Winnifred Wind project would be built north of the County of Forty Mile hamlet, located about 14 kilometres northeast of Bow Island, but the new transmission line is planned to run along a township road in Cypress County then along Highway 3 toward the city.

This week the Alberta Utilities Commission announced a hearing into the route will be held in December to consider the arguments of 12 affected landowners who have registered as intervenors to argue against the route.

They argue in submissions to the AUC that the line route makes it unclear if the line is located on private land or a utility right of way beside the road. Several worry about irrigation pivot operations as well as land values.

The company states in materials published for public consultation that the route comprises a combination of an existing right of way and on new or existing private easements.

Cypress County submitted that it believe a the road right-of-way corridor that already houses telecommunications lines and part of the Westside Water Co-op system is too narrow for the new line.

The county also states it plans to further develop roadway on the 20-metre-wide corridor.

The line, to be known as 498L, would be built from a new substation (“Enerfin Holsom”) along Range Road 84, then Township Road 114 eastward to meet Highway 3 northeast of Seven Persons. It would follow the highway toward Medicine Hat, then jog east to the existing AltaLInk substation (“Bullshead”) near Range Road 63.

Enerfin plans to build a 16 to 22 turbine wind farm south of Rattlesnake Reservoir.

The company plans to begin construction in mid 2022, and have it completed by the end of 2023. That project is not part of the current hearing process.

The AUC hearing process for the grid connection requires intervenors to submit final positions for consideration by Dec. 17.

No date of decision has been set.