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AltaLink’s new transmission line leading Alberta to a greener future

Alberta’s first in-service direct current transmission line to help reduce carbon emissions

CALGARY, Alberta – AltaLink’s Western Alberta Transmission Line, Alberta’s first in-service direct current (DC) line, is now transmitting electricity on the provincial power grid.

“We began running power through the line in November as part of a system testing process,” said Scott Thon, AltaLink President and CEO. “I am proud to say that as of today, our line is now serving Albertans at its full capacity and helping our province reach a greener future.”

This highly efficient new line will save an estimated 350,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year from entering the atmosphere, the equivalent of removing 65,000 vehicles from Alberta’s roads.

“While connecting Alberta’s two major centres, the Western Alberta Transmission Line is also reducing electrical losses, which is wasted energy,” said Thon. “Essentially, we are reducing the need for additional generation to produce that lost energy.”

The 350-kilometre, 500 kilovolt (kV) DC transmission line connects an area west of Edmonton to the east edge of Calgary. The line improves the reliability and efficiency of the provincial interconnected electric system by adding 1,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity. An additional benefit is that the capacity can be increased to 4,000 MW in the future without the need to build more towers and impact more land.

“This project brings much needed relief to the electric system by taking pressure off the existing 240 kV network while strengthening the backbone of the provincial grid,” said Thon. “We are now redeploying the existing 240 kV system to provide improved reliability to the cities, towns and communities in central Alberta.”

Construction crews supported local economies during the past three years, renting more than 43,000 hotel rooms between shifts as they logged over 5.6 million hours of work – roughly 466,000 12-hour shifts.

“We appreciate the hospitality shown to us as we worked to complete this important project,” Thon said. “Being able to help boost the project area economies by spending on meals, rooms and using local contractors was a great benefit to several Alberta communities.”   

Since construction was completed in the fall, AltaLink tested the transmission line and converter stations to ensure the DC power is properly meshing with the Alberta’s alternating current (AC) system.

The Western Alberta Transmission Line is the first DC transmission line to be energized in Alberta.   

“We are proud to help Alberta reduce carbon emissions and believe this project will benefit all Albertans now and well into the future,” added Thon. 

Headquartered in Calgary, with offices in Edmonton, Red Deer and Lethbridge, AltaLink is Alberta’s largest electricity transmission provider. We are committed to meeting the province’s demand for electricity, providing innovative solutions, and partnering with our stakeholders and communities in doing so. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, AltaLink is part of a global group of companies delivering electricity and utility services to customers worldwide.

For more information please contact:

Peter Brodsky
Manager, External Communications
Cell: 403-852-0021
E-mail:  Peter.Brodsky@altalink.ca