CALGARY, Feb. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - The Alberta Electric System Operator
(AESO) responded publicly Monday to the release of a government
initiated report conducted to review its assessment of the transmission
requirements between Edmonton and Calgary.
"As the organization responsible for providing Albertans with a reliable
supply of electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we are pleased
with the findings and recommendations included in the report," says
David Erickson, AESO President and Chief Executive Officer. "Upgrades
are needed in order to preserve the overall reliability of the system."
The committee was established to review the AESO's assessment of the
electricity transmission requirements between Edmonton and Calgary, the
selection of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technology, and the
timing of the projects. The AESO provided the committee with
information about Alberta's electricity market, the need for
transmission development, HVDC technology and a detailed overview of
the planned reinforcement.
"We've seen an incredible rise in Alberta's population over the past
five years, and that's good news for Albertans. Our quality of life
and economic well-being, especially the maintenance and creation of
jobs, depends on an adequate and reliable supply of electricity for all
Albertans, now and into the future." says Erickson.
"By reinforcing the backbone of our transmission system we are enabling
full competition in the energy market" says Kelly Gunsch,
Vice-President at the AESO. "This provides certainty to those who
invest in new generation projects that they will have the ability to
move their electricity to Alberta households and businesses. It also
provides load with an important signal in a rapidly growing economy."
"By ensuring a robust and unconstrained transmission system, we are
increasing competition, which effectively allows for a lower overall
cost of delivered energy," adds Gunsch.
The AESO considers a number of factors when determining if a project is
in the public's best interest, including minimization of land impacts,
forecasted load growth, efficiency, technical performance, scalability,
operational performance, cost and government policy.
The need for reinforcement between Edmonton and Calgary was originally
identified in 2002. It is required to address issues with reliability,
maximize efficiency, accommodate long-term growth and lead investment
As an independent system operator, the AESO leads the safe, reliable and
economic planning and operation of Alberta's interconnected power
system. The AESO also facilitates Alberta's fair, efficient and openly
competitive wholesale electricity market, which in 2011 had about 164
participants and approximately $8 billion in annual energy
About the AESO
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) acts in the public interest
of Albertans and has no financial interest or investment of any kind in
the power industry.
The AESO is mandated under the Government of Alberta's Transmission
Regulation to ensure a robust transmission system that provides
reliable service to Albertans, attracts new generation, supports
merchant or independent transmission projects, encourages investment in
Alberta and facilitates a competitive energy marketplace.
Alberta's quality of life and economic well-being, especially the
maintenance and creation of jobs, depends on an adequate and reliable
supply of electricity to all Albertans, now and well into the future.
The law obligates the AESO to operate in the public interest. The AESO
considers minimization of land impacts, forecasted load growth,
efficiency, technical performance, scalability and expandability,
operational performance and cost when determining whether something is
in the public interest. The AESO also considers government policy.
The AESO's transmission planning processes are purposefully staged and
flexible to accommodate changes in the load forecast.
The AESO manages Alberta's electricity grid on a 24/7 basis to ensure
reliable power is available to meet the needs of all Albertans.
The AESO plans the provincial transmission system, including all its
interconnections with neighbouring provinces, to ensure this important
infrastructure keeps pace with the growing demand for power.
Edmonton to Calgary Transmission System Reinforcements
Two high voltage direct current lines between Edmonton and Calgary are
required to address issues with reliability, maximize efficiency,
accommodate long term growth and lead investment decisions.
Increased demand for electricity in southern and central Alberta is
stressing the existing 240 kV system.
The lines between Edmonton and Calgary will facilitate access between
renewable generation zones and the market to transport large quantities
of electricity when the wind is blowing or when high river flows occur
at hydro plants.
The need for reinforcement between Edmonton and Calgary was originally
identified in 2002 by the Transmission Administrator. The AESO was
created in 2003, absorbing the responsibilities of the Transmission
Administrator and the Power Pool.
The Edmonton to Calgary transmission system reinforcement was estimated
to cost approximately $3.135 B (in 2008 dollars) as per the AESO's 2009
Long-term Transmission System Plan. The most up-to-date costs are
included in the Facilities Applications filed by the Transmission
High Voltage Direct Current Transmission (HVDC)
The two main types of electricity are alternating current (AC) and
direct current (DC). The difference between AC and DC systems is how
the power moves through the lines. With an alternating current the flow
of power reverses direction 60 times per second, but with direct
current, power only moves in one direction.
Two high voltage direct current (HVDC) lines between Edmonton and
Calgary are required to address issues with reliability, maximize
efficiency, accommodate long-term growth and lead generation decisions.
In addition to strengthening the overall transmission system, DC lines
between Edmonton and Calgary will facilitate access between renewable
energy generation zones and the market.
DC lines offer the benefit of 'scalability' - meaning the amount of
power a line can transmit can be increased by adding equipment at each
end of the line. This allows for a staged approach and decreases the
need to build more power lines in the future when demand for power
The implementation of the two high voltage direct current (HVDC) lines
will be staged. Initially, 2000 MW of capacity will be added to the
grid, with the capability of increasing to a total of 4000 MW.
HVDC transmission facilities do not exist in Alberta, but are in
operation in many parts of the world. The first DC transmission line
was built in the 1950s and today there are more than 100 lines in
operation. Examples include:
Quebec-New England Interconnection installed in the early 1990s
Alberta Saskatchewan Interconnection installed in 1989
Vancouver Island Interconnection installed in the late 1970s
Nelson River, Manitoba installed in the 1970s
Bay Cable, San Francisco, commissioned in 2010
Neptune, New Jersey, commissioned in 2007
Cross Sound, New York, commissioned in 2002
The AESO considers a variety of economic scenarios to help forecast
future demand for electricity and the generation we anticipate will be
available to meet that demand. The AESO then uses this information to
identify the best solutions to strengthen the electricity grid.
The AESO takes a prudent, practical and flexible approach to forecasting
growth on the provincial electricity system, avoiding excessively
optimistic forecasts that could lead to overbuilding, and overly
pessimistic forecasts that may discourage investment.
Transmission planning is an ongoing process and changes in economics,
industrial projects and customer connection requests are continuously
monitored to assess their impact on forecasting.
The AESO integrates data from multiple sources like the Conference Board
of Canada, the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) and the
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers to determine where the
demand for electricity will grow, where and how much generation is
required to meet that demand, and what additional transmission
infrastructure will be required.
Facts about the Electricity System
We need transmission infrastructure in place ahead of electricity demand
so investment, market access and economic development are not
A large part of deciding whether to locate or expand a business or
industry in Alberta is based on being reasonably certain of access to
an adequate supply of electricity.
The backbone of the province's transmission grid hasn't seen a major
investment in more than 20 years. Yet, over that same period, Alberta's
GDP has risen 295%, from $70 billion to nearly $278 billion (not
adjusted for inflation), the population has increased 43 per cent, from
2.5 million to 3.6 million, and our average demand for electricity grew
84%, from 4,559 MW to 8,402 MW.
Alberta's export of power has been less than 1 per cent of the power
produced in Alberta. Imports served nearly 5 per cent of total load in
2011, an increase over previous years.
Alberta has been a net importer of electricity since 2002.
Transmission capacity has not kept pace with generation development in
the last decade and, as a result, generation is curtailed in many parts
of the province.
In Alberta, because generation resources are often located far from
where the demand is, we depend on transmission lines to carry
electricity from where it is produced to where it is needed.
Transmission investment is needed to reliably serve the expanding
demand, reduce transmission congestion and related congestion costs and
facilitate a competitive market.
It takes on average anywhere from 3 to 5 years to build transmission
once the need has been identified. Alberta presently has about 26,000
kilometres of transmission lines.
Demand for power increased 80 per cent over the past 20 years (5,894MW
- 10,609 MW) with the peak demand growth forecasted to average 3.3 per
cent per year for the next 10 years and 2.5 per cent per year for the
next 20 years.
The AESO's forecasts suggest that over the next 20 years more than
11,000 MW of new generation is needed to ensure we have enough power to
meet the needs of Albertans. (Current generating capacity: 13,888 MW)
Approximately 5,700 MW of generation is required over the next 10 years
(by 2022) to support a reliable electricity system.
The cost of transmission is in direct correlation to the use of the
transmission system. The highest users pay the highest costs for
building new transmission.
Alberta consumers pay for existing transmission and transmission
upgrades and expansions according to their use of the transmission
system. Transmission costs in Alberta are split in the following ways:
SOURCE Alberta Electric System Operator
For further information:
Dawn Delaney, Senior External Communication Advisor
Phone: 403-539-2846 Cell: 403-671-6129 Pager: 403-515-9450
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org