Who gives a dam about hydro in Alberta?

Who gives a dam about hydro in Alberta?

Recently the provincial government directed the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to hold an inquiry on the regulatory process for hydroelectric power generation development. The AUC’s April 14th Notice of Inquiry gives a May 7th deadline for submission of statements of intent to participate (SIP).

Are you asking yourself “who gives a damn?”

Well, the answer is “maybe you.”

The province has given several reasons for the inquiry including:

  • “The potential for development of hydroelectric power as a clean source of energy”;
  • The complexity of the hydroelectric generation project approval process;
  • The desire for an “effective and efficient regulatory approval process that considers the interests of all Alberta stakeholders.”

The point of the inquiry is to produce a report that will “provide findings, pros and cons, and options on relevant issues, but will not make recommendations.” It will identify numerous considerations including:

  • Current applicable legislation and approval and regulatory processes and opportunities to improve these;
  • “Overlaps, barriers, conflicts, or other impediments of regulatory approval requirements”;
  • Stakeholders;
  • Differences for reviewing large-scale projects, run-of-river projects or upgrades to existing development; and
  • Issues with potential impacts on neighbouring provinces and territories.

It appears the province may be considering an overhaul of the hydroelectric regulatory system. So, if you live in an area that may be affected by hydroelectric development, have knowledge of existing regulations and processes, and/or have ideas on how these processes could be improved, you may want to submit a SIP. The AUC has stated: Notification regarding further scheduling or process will only be provided to registered participants.” That means that if you haven’t submitted your SIP by May 7th at 4:00 pm, you won’t be part of the process. (See below.) The ELC plans to participate in the process.

From the AUC Notice of Inquiry:
To assist the AUC with developing efficient and effective discussions, the AUC requests that any party with an intent to participate in the inquiry register by submitting a statement of intent to participate (SIP) by 4:00 p.m., May 7, 2010. The SIP should set out your interest in the inquiry, comments about the preliminary list of topics and the preliminary process schedule outlined below, and your contact information. Following the initial submission deadline, the AUC will communicate the final list of topics and the final process schedule for the inquiry to all of the registered participants.

Electronic copies of submissions are preferred and can be submitted directly using the AUC’s Electronic Proceeding Submission (EPS) system. If parties do not have direct EPS access, submissions can be emailed to:

Email: filings@auc.ab.ca
Subject: Proceeding ID. 561 or Application No. 1606021

The AUC encourages all parties to file their documents electronically; however, if necessary, paper copies of submissions can be mailed to:

Alberta Utilities Commission
Facilities Division
Re: Proceeding ID. 561; Application No. 1606021
Fifth Avenue Place, Fourth floor, 425 – 1 Street SW
Calgary, Alberta T2P 3L8

Notification regarding further scheduling or process will only be provided to registered participants.

You can read the entire notice, including projected timeline, at http://www.auc.ab.ca/applications/notices/Notices/2010/1606021.pdf

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.

ELC Contact:
Leah Orr
Communications Coordinator
Environmental Law Centre
1-800-661-4238 ext. 314
lorr@elc.ab.ca
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