In Alberta, Fort McMurray West transmission line moves forward

The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) is moving into the next stage of selecting a successful proponent for the Fort McMurray West 500 kV transmission project.

The project will use the competitive process, which is designed to maximize efficiency and provide downward pressure on transmission costs to Alberta ratepayers.

The request for qualification stage will conclude in December 2013, when an AESO-selected panel of experts will shortlist up to five bidders to move to the request for proposals stage. The AESO expects that a winning proponent will be named by the end of 2014.

The Fort McMurray West 500 kV Transmission Project is needed to support continued oilsands growth, the key economic driver of Alberta’s economy. This reinforcement of Alberta’s transmission system will allow competitively priced power to reach consumers. It will consist of about 310 miles of transmission line and associated facilities between the Edmonton and Fort McMurray regions and is expected to be in service by 2019.

A second competition for the Fort McMurray East 500 kV Transmission Project is expected to commence in 2015/2016.

As an independent system operator, the AESO leads the 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 2012 had 170 participants and about $6.4 billion in annual energy transactions.

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