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30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Lethbridge, AB
T1K 7H7
Phone: (403) 328-1804
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The Editor
The Lethbridge Herald
P.O. Box 670
Lethbridge, AB, T1J 3Z7

Dear Editor, 

There have been several articles, letters and editorials in the Herald lately regarding “Bill 50”. Joe Anglin, famed for helping defeat a transmission line between Edmonton and Calgary, was here in Lethbridge as was Gary Holden, CEO of Enmax. They both question the need for the extensive transmission line upgrades which are the subject of “Bill 50”. Their motives are easy to understand. Not so easy to understand are the letters from the co-leaders, Rena Woss and Tom Cain, of our local anti-nuclear organization GREENSENCE. It turns out that their misinformed fight against the transmission line plans of the Alberta Government actually counters their renewable energy cause. 

Readers may recall that Alberta’s energy ministry directed the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) to remove a cap which had been imposed on wind turbine installations in 2006. AESO was also asked to set up a framework to allow more wind to be added to Alberta’s power supply and were reminded they are responsible for making sure Alberta’s “reliable grid operation would be maintained”. AESO subsequently developed a long term transmission plan which is posted on their website. The plan provides the rationale underlying “Bill 50”. 

Wind energy developers have shown great interest in being connected to the transmission grid. The AESO plan indicates that the major need for transmission capacity actually comes from anticipated wind power development. Applications have been received to connect over 11,500 Mw of wind power to the grid. AESO anticipates 4000 Mw might actually be built over the next ten years and has developed the plan accordingly. That alone will require the massive upgrades needed to the transmission line system to ensure that amount wind power can be delivered to customers in Alberta. 

The Alberta government has already bent over backwards – too far backward to maintain a stable footing in my opinion - to accommodate renewable energy. I can take some comfort from the fact that if renewable energy growth plans do not pan out that we may at least put in place a transmission system which will accommodate future electricity supply from more practical sources. 


Yours truly,


Duane Pendergast, Ph.D., P. Eng.

Chair, Alberta Branch of the Canadian Nuclear Society


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