ENMAX sees delay with 875 MW power project in Alberta

ENMAX Generation Portfolio Inc., citing construction delays, on June 24 asked the Alberta Utilities Commission for extra time to complete its Shepard Energy Centre.

The Shepard Energy Centre is a natural gas-fired generating unit with a capacity of up to 875 MW located in Calgary, Alberta, that has been under construction since 2011, according to GenerationHub.

In November 2010, the Alberta commission approved the construction and operation of the Shepard Energy Centre subject to certain conditions. Condition 4 of the approval stated that unless otherwise authorized by the commission, construction of the plant needs to be completed by December 31, 2014.

In February 2013, in response to applications by ENMAX Shepard Inc. and ENMAX Green Power Inc., the commission approved the transfer of the project from ENMAX Shepard to ENMAX Green Power.

In November 2013, in response to a notification from ENMAX Generation Portfolio (EGPI) that it had assumed ownership of the power plant, the commission okayed the transfer of the approval to EGPI.

“Pursuant to section 19 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act, EGPI hereby requests an extension of the completion date stipulated in the Approvals from December 31, 2014 to June 30, 2015,” said the June 24 request. “EGPI has been providing the AUC with quarterly progress reports in accordance with section 3 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Regulation. These reports have demonstrated that construction has been proceeding on schedule such that EGPI did not anticipate that an extension would be required. However, recent unanticipated construction-related issues have arisen with respect to the supply of natural gas and the supply of water such that EGPI anticipates that the completion of construction will be delayed beyond December 31, 2014.”

EGPI expects that these issues will be resolved such that construction will most likely be completed in the first quarter of 2015, but wants the June 30 extended deadline in case there is any further delay.

The June 24 letter was from Deborah Emes, VP, Regulatory, ENMAX Corp., 403-514-2662.

Said the ENMAX website about this project: “When it’s completed in early 2015, Shepard will be Alberta’s largest natural gas-fired power facility. We’re thinking big to provide power for a better tomorrow, and Shepard is the cornerstone of that thinking. Using combined-cycle technology, two natural gas-fired turbines and one steam turbine will add more than 800 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the provincial grid — enough to meet half of Calgary’s current needs. Shepard will also emit less than half the carbon dioxide per MW of conventional coal plants.”

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Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy's Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication's editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University.

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