Seven Alberta Indigenous communities have entered into agreements to purchase a combined 40 per cent share in Alberta PowerLine, the longest 500-kV AC transmission line in Canada.
The seven Indigenous communities investing in Alberta PowerLine are Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Bigstone Cree Nation, Gunn Métis Local 55, Mikisew Cree First Nation, by way of its business arm, the Mikisew Group of Companies, Paul First Nation, Sawridge First Nation and Sucker Creek First Nation.
“Alberta PowerLine is a true Canadian success story, and an example for the world of how industry and Indigenous communities can work together to develop world-class energy infrastructure that benefits all constituents,” said Nancy Southern, Chair & Chief Executive Officer, ATCO.
The 508-kilometre long transmission line, runs from Wabamun, just west of Edmonton, to Fort McMurray. Alberta PowerLine is the longest 500-kV AC transmission line in Canada and was ranked among the top 50 infrastructure projects in the country.
“We are very proud of the collaborative spirit which, over several years of planning, allowed us to complete the project without an Indigenous or NGO objection,” said Southern.
Southern added “We are also deeply appreciative of the cooperation and commitment from all of the Indigenous communities along the line, whose centuries-old culture, histories, and knowledge helped us in shaping the route.”
Design and construction of the transmission line began in 2014 by a partnership between Canadian Utilities and Quanta Services. In June of this year, Canadian Utilities and Quanta Services entered into definitive agreements for the sale of 100 per cent of their interest in Alberta PowerLine.
As part of these agreements, CU offered an opportunity for Indigenous communities along the transmission line route to obtain up to a 40 per cent equity interest in APL.
“Building respectful and mutually beneficial partnerships has long defined how we do business and was foundational to the success of Alberta PowerLine,” said Siegfried Kiefer, President & Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Utilities. “We are pleased to provide Indigenous communities with the opportunity to make a long-term investment in critical energy infrastructure that will provide them a stable source of income for years to come.”
The remaining 60 per cent of APL will be owned by a consortium including Greystone Managed Investments (doing business as TD Greystone Asset Management), as manager for and on behalf of the Greystone Infrastructure Fund (Global Master) L.P., and IST3 Investment Foundation acting in respect and on behalf of its investment group IST3 Infrastruktur Global.
Alberta PowerLine was financed in part through the largest public-private partnership bond in Canadian history and, according to a press release from ATCO, has been recognized for creating a new standard of excellence in public-private partnership projects.
The line was energized in March 2019, ahead of schedule, on-budget and with an impeccable safety record. Canadian Utiltites will remain as the operator of Alberta PowerLine over its 35-year contract with the AESO. Canadian Utilities says it will continue to partner with Indigenous communities to establish maintenance and operational contracts, creating opportunities for skills training and local economic development.
The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, and is subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.