Canadian Manufacturing

Five bidders shortlisted for Alberta electricity transmission project

Competing to build 500-kilovolt Fort McMurray West Transmission Project in northeastern Alberta

CALGARY—Five bidders have been chosen by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) to compete for the rights to build and own a 500-kilometre electricity transmission project in the province.

According to the AESO, chosen companies have been selected to enter the request for proposal (RFP) stage in its Fort McMurray West Transmission Project, which will have a capacity of 500 kilovolts running from Wabamun, Alta., northwest to Fort McMurray, Alta., a rapidly expanding oil and gas hub.

Alberta PowerLine (owned by Canadian Utilities Ltd. and Quanta Capital Solutions Inc.), Athabasca Transmission (owned by AltaLink LP and AEP Transmission Holding Co. LLC), NorSpan Partners LP (owned by EPCOR Utilities Inc. and LS Power Associates LP), TAMA Transmission LP (owned by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. and TransAlta) and TransCanada/Elecnor (owned by TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. and Elecnor S.A.) have all been selected to enter the RFP stage.

The AESO said it received submissions from companies around the world, including Asia, Europe, and North and South America.

“Alberta is leading the way across North America to inject competitive pressures into the transmission system and to see so many world-class companies from across the globe looking to invest in Alberta is a testament to the success of the competition to date,” AESO president and chief executive David Erickson said in a statement announcing the selections.

The AESO was mandated by the province to develop a competitive process and have it approved by the provincial electricity regulator, the Alberta Utilities Commission, for the project.

“The competitive process is designed to put downward pressure on transmission costs and will allow competitively priced power to reach consumers,” said Elizabeth Moore, director of the competitive process for the AESO.

“At the completion of the RFP stage, the qualified company who can undertake the project at the lowest life-cycle cost will be identified and selected.”

The Alberta PowerLine bid would see Valard Construction LP design and construct the project, while ATCO Electric Ltd. would be responsible for operating and maintaining the transmission facilities.

Athabasca Transmission would see Burns and McDonnell Canada Ltd. and SNC-Lavalin design and build the facilities, while AltaLink and AEP would be responsible for ongoing operations and maintenance.

Kiewit Energy Canada Corp. and Sargent & Lundy LLC would be responsible for design and construction of the NorSpan Partners bid, while EPCOR would be tasked with operation and maintenance.

The TAMA Transmission bid would see MidAmerican design and construct the project, work and TAMA would operate and maintain it.

Finally, the TransCanada/Elecnor bid would see Elecnor design and build the facilities while TransCanada would be responsible for operating and maintaining the transmission facilities.

The AESO said it will select a winning bid in December 2014.

The target in-service date for the project is 2019.

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