The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is providing Alberta electricity transmission companies, AltaLink, L.P (AltaLink) and ATCO Electric Ltd. (ATCO) with financing to construct a new transmission line in the counties of Red Deer, Lacombe and Stettler.

“The CIB’s investment in the Central East Transfer-Out project will improve Alberta’s transmission capacity while creating the opportunity for clean energy sources to be added to the grid. As the CIB’s first investment through the Clean Power priority sector, this project will help build a cleaner economy and support Alberta’s clean energy transition,” said Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities.

The CIB’s $283.5 million loan will help advance a new, 130-kilometre high-voltage power line, which is needed to reinforce and strengthen the reliability of the electrical grid and increase access to available renewable electricity generation in the region. This investment will save Alberta ratepayers approximately $135 million over the 30-year financing of the project.

“Our partnership with AltaLink and ATCO will help future proof Alberta’s transmission grid – increasing the amount of available power and enhancing power reliability. The investment will enable both transmission companies to advance the construction of the Central East Transfer-Out project, which will deliver energy safely and cost-effectively to homes and businesses in Alberta,” said Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank.

According to the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), the transmission line is required to relieve power congestion and distribution capabilities in the area. The Central East Transfer-Out project will supply over 750 megawatts of electricity to the grid.

(L to R): Gary Hart, president and CEO, AltaLink; Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank; Nathan Neudorf, Minister of Affordability and Utilities; and Melanie Bayley, president, ATCO Electric. (AltaLink)

“This investment is yet another step towards ensuring Alberta’s electricity system is affordable, reliable, and sustainable for generations to come. Collaboration is necessary for our grid to be prepared to meet the province’s future needs. As Alberta’s government works towards modernizing our grid, support from industry and the CIB is essential to achieving these goals,” said Nathan Neudorf, Minister of Affordability and Utilities, Government of Alberta.

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Adding new transmission infrastructure will help to alleviate grid congestion and unlock the capacity for new renewable energy sources to come online to reduce the province’s GHG emissions.

“As the demand for electricity continues to grow in Alberta’s expanding economy, our goal remains to provide reliable and affordable electricity to our customers. With the support of the CIB, we are reducing the cost to our customers for this important electrical infrastructure, while strengthening the system and increasing access to renewable energy sources,” said Gary Hart, president and CEO, AltaLink

The CIB’s flexible loan will allow AltaLink and ATCO to construct and operationalize the new transmission infrastructure at a lower financing cost, reducing the cost to Alberta ratepayers. Investing in projects like this will strengthen Alberta’s grid, increase resiliency and enhance power reliability for future generations.

“The Central East Transfer-Out project will underpin Alberta’s growing economy by addressing future electricity availability and augmenting resiliency. Adding 750 MW to our grid will meet this increasing demand while helping to enable a modernized system that can more readily accommodate renewable generation projects. Importantly, the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s significant investment will also help maintain affordable rates for our customers by minimizing financing costs,” said Melanie Bayley, president, ATCO Electric.

This is CIB’s first investment in energy transmission under its $10 billion Clean Power priority sector, which is dedicated to addressing financing gaps in new projects such as renewables, transmission, district energy systems and energy storage.

Featured image: View of fragment of power line as component of large electrical networks and system of power equipment. Electricity transmission, electric current. Energy supply of regions. Selective focus. (CNW Group/Canada Infrastructure Bank)

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