EPCOR to seek regulatory approval to add generator to Genesee facility

EDMONTON, AB Canada, Dec. 15, 2000 (CNW) à‚– EPCOR’s Board of Directors has approved plans to seek regulatory approval for a third generator at its Genesee facility southwest of Edmonton.

The proposed unit will contribute approximately 400 MW (megawatts) toward meeting the province’s growing demand for electricity. In the next 10 years, it is anticipated Alberta consumers will need more than 2,400 MW of new electric power to run their homes, businesses and industries. EPCOR’s long-range plan for new generation will help meet this demand.

“By developing a mix of projects-including natural gas, wind, hydro, biomass and coal-EPCOR will help support Alberta’s robust economy,” says EPCOR President and CEO Don Lowry.

“Alberta needs power and the only long-term solution for Alberta’s supply problem is more generation. We believe that adding a third unit at the Genesee Generating Station is a cost-effective way of adding much-needed capacity, while alleviating Albertans’ reliance on expensive imports, particularly from British Columbia, as well as on higher- priced natural gas-fired generation.”

Mr. Lowry explained that “EPCOR will proceed with the public consultation process and the environmental impact assessment on this project. Simultaneously we will continue to work with the Alberta government to ensure that the recent changes to the regulatory framework do not affect our ability to competitively operate and secure financing for this project. We are confident that a solution will be found.”

A project of this nature generally takes up to 5 years to complete, but given the urgency of bringing supply to market, EPCOR will work with all stakeholders to move this forward as quickly as possible, while ensuring that interested parties have a fair opportunity for input into the development of the proposed project.

The Public Disclosure document and Draft Terms of Reference for the Environmental Assessment were released today. Copies are being provided to stakeholders including residents in the vicinity of the Genesee Generating Station, as well as hundreds of individuals, businesses and organizations and all levels of government.

As part of the regulatory review process the public is invited to submit their comments to Alberta Environment no later than February 09, 2001. The documents and related information are also available on the Internet at www.epcor.ca.

EPCOR has been consulting with key stakeholders since mid-November in an effort to create meaningful, two-way communication that will contribute to the decision-making process for the duration of the project. The ideas, concerns and questions that arose from EPCOR’s preliminary consultations with stakeholders were considered in the preparation of both the Public Disclosure document and Draft Terms of Reference for the Environmental Assessment.

Meetings will continue to be held with numerous stakeholders including:

– the EPCOR Public Advisory Committee;

– the Genesee Power Project Advisory Committee, established in 1981;

– municipal, provincial and federal officials and regulatory authorities;

– business and community leaders; and – special interest groups.

In addition to meetings with the above stakeholders, a series of Public Information Sessions will be held in early 2001 in communities near Genesee and in Edmonton. These meetings will provide an opportunity for a larger segment of the public, as well as special interest groups, to meet with the project team and to offer their feedback on the proposal. Along with media advertising, information will be posted on the EPCOR web site.

The Genesee Generating Station is ranked as one of Canada’s most reliable and efficient power facilities, and the adjacent mine permit area contains more than 180 million tonnes of clean-burning, low-sulphur coal. Terry Bachynski, Senior Vice-president of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, explained that EPCOR had conducted an international survey of coal technologies and facilities, and considered the recommendations of internal and external coal combustion experts.

“Our objective was to strike the right balance between improved efficiency, improved environmental performance, proven commercial technology and economics. Based on our due diligence, we are confident that balance has been achieved with our selection of the best available, commercial-scale technology. If approved, this new generating plant will be the first in Canada to use a supercritical boiler. Combined with a multi-stage, high efficiency turbine and other environmentally-advanced components, we know we can improve performance beyond that of the existing units.”

EPCOR is an Alberta-based company with $2.8 billion in assets. EPCOR generates 1,782 MW power in Alberta; operates transmission and distribution networks; builds and operates water and wastewater treatment plants; operates Canada’s third largest water distribution network; and sells essential elements for living – power, water and natural gas – to customers across Canada.

EPCOR also markets commercial electric services such as landfill gas management, street lighting, electrical and water meter services. More information about EPCOR can be found on the web site at www.epcor.ca.

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