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Bill 50 - A Curious Solution to Transmission Problems

18 Nov 2009

There is no doubt that electricity transmission planning and approval in Alberta faces challenges, including difficulty responding to public concern. Bill 50 - the Electric Statutes Amendment Act - is the most recent attempt to address these challenges. However, not everyone agrees that Bill 50 will work.

"Bill 50 is a curious solution because it doesn't fix the overall transmission process or address bigger problems in assessing transmission need," says Laura Bowman, Staff Counsel at the Edmonton-based Environmental Law Centre.

According to Bowman, significant problems with Bill 50 include:

  • Too much broad Cabinet discretion over complex transmission planning and approval issues;
  • Little guidance regarding how Cabinet will decide which infrastructure is "critical." Cabinet is not required to consider clear criteria or consult the public or affected parties prior to making this designation;
  • No clear process for advancing or debating environmental issues, property rights or social components of critical transmission projects, or to assist the government in controlling pollution and ensuring environmental conservation; and
  • Instead of accounting for need by setting clear objectives and priorities in consultation with the public and affected parties, the bill will allow Cabinet to determine the need for critical transmission without considering adequacy, cost, reliability, generation competitiveness, sustainability, or environmental impacts.

According to Bowman, Bill 50 should not be passed. "The government needs to find a way to address need through public participation and a complete assessment of whether transmission is in the public interest or not."

More detailed analysis and recommendations can be found on the Environmental Law Centre's website.

 

About the ELC

The ELC's vision is a clean, healthy and diverse environment protected through informed citizen participation and sound law and policy, effectively applied. Its mission is to ensure that laws, policies and legal processes protect the environment.

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Contact:

Laura Bowman
Staff Counsel
Environmental Law Centre
1-800-661-4238 ext. 310
lbowman [at] elc [dot] ab [dot] ca

Posted November 20, 2009 by Anonymous

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