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The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) will recommend the construction of a 240 kV loop system to connect up to 2,700 MW of wind power proposed throughout southern Alberta over the next 10 years. The AESO will file its assessment and recommendation with the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) by the end of this year.

Over the past year, the AESO conducted technical and economic studies, met with stakeholders and hosted public information sessions to assess the need for transmission reinforcement in southern Alberta, and to develop a recommendation for meeting this need.

To more effectively pace the transmission development necessary to integrate wind projects, the AESO is proposing that this transmission development occur in stages, rather than building the transmission all at once.

"It's critical the transmission system has a flexible plan for development," says Neil Millar, vice president for transmission at AESO. "By applying to the AUC for all the development but actually building it in stages as it's needed, we are in a better position to respond to the development pattern of wind in Alberta."

The AESO estimates that the first stage of the transmission development will cost approximately C$750 million and incorporate as much as 1,200 MW of additional wind power. Currently, 497 MW of wind power is installed on the transmission system.

The two latter stages of development will be triggered by wind proposals as they mature through the AESO's milestone process, and the AESO estimates that these stages will cost an additional C$800 million and C$280 million, respectively.

SOURCE: Alberta Electric System Operator

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