After years of contention and confusion, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) has approved the Heartland Transmission line. The 500-kilovolt project will see above-ground power lines run along a proposed 65-kilometre eastern route from Edmonton to Fort Saskatchewan.
The Heartland Project is a joint venture between Epcor and AltaLink. In their application, the two companies estimate the line will cost between $580 million and $610 million, depending on certain conditions. This is nearly double the original estimate presented in 2009.
One of the most contentious issues surrounding Heartland is Rimbey town councillor Joe Anglin’s allegation that the tax-funded line will be used to feed electricity to the U.S. Anglin has also said if the north-south lines still under review are not approved, Heartland will be a “line to nowhere.”
Contrary to Anglin’s fears, Heartland was deemed critical to Alberta’s public interest by the AUC. With 170 witnesses and 1,300-plus exhibits, this was the largest review ever conducted by the AUC.