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AltaLink submits updated cost estimate for Western Alberta Transmission Line project

CALGARY, ALBERTA – AltaLink has submitted its updated cost estimate to the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) for the construction of the Western Alberta Transmission Line (WATL) project. The WATL project estimate has increased by $200 million to $1.65 billion. AltaLink’s updated cost estimate remains within the range of its January 2011 estimate of $1.3 billion to $1.7 billion.

The increase in cost is primarily driven by higher than forecast costs in the market for construction labour for the transmission line.

During its extensive consultation program, AltaLink worked with thousands of stakeholders to address concerns with this project. The thorough consultation program contributed to a longer than expected project permitting process and the inclusion of monopole structures near Gleniffer Reservoir, both of which are also factors in the increase of the estimate.

“Alberta’s hot construction market continues to put pressure on project cost estimates, pushing construction costs above what we forecast in early 2011, three years ago,” said Dennis Frehlich, interim president and CEO. “We will continue to carefully manage this important project to keep costs as low as possible.”

The WATL project is a 350-kilometre 500 kV direct current transmission line connecting the Genesee area west of Edmonton to the Langdon area east of Calgary. Upon completion, the project will improve the reliability and efficiency of the Alberta interconnected electric system.

AltaLink is executing another major transmission project in southern Alberta which is necessary to connect renewable wind energy to the Alberta grid. The Cassils to Bowmanton to Whitla (CBW) project is a 240-kilometre 240 kV double circuit project. The project is ahead of schedule with completion in early 2014 and project costs are expected to be on budget and within the $678 million project estimate submitted in 2010.

Headquartered in Calgary, with offices in Edmonton, Red Deer and Lethbridge, AltaLink is Alberta’s largest transmission provider. The company is actively working with stakeholders to build new transmission projects in response to the province’s growth thus ensuring the transmission system will meet Albertans’ energy needs today and in the future. These projects will provide Albertans with access to clean, renewable electric energy and the lowest-priced supply available in the province.

For more information please contact:

Peter Brodsky
Manager, External Communications
Phone: 403.267.2110
Cell: 403.852.0021
E-mail: peter.brodsky@altalink.ca