ATCO Wins Prestigious Edison Award for Alberta PowerLine Project
We’re very excited to announce that we have been selected as the winner of the 2020 International Edison Award for our work on the Fort McMurray West 500-kV Transmission Project, completed by Alberta PowerLine (APL). The Edison Award is presented annually by the Edison Electric Institute and has long been the electricity industry’s most prestigious award.
The project began in 2014, when ATCO and Quanta Services partnered to create APL and set out to develop, design, finance, construct and operate the Fort McMurray West 500-kV Transmission Project, the longest 500-kV transmission line in Canada, across some of the world’s most difficult terrain and in its most challenging climate. Not only did we undertake one of the most significant energy infrastructure projects in Canada, but we did so in keeping with our values; ensuring the safety of our people, the protection of the environment, and making a positive and lasting difference for the communities along the route.
We engaged extensively with local communities as we designed and constructed the project. Over a three-year period, we engaged with 27 Indigenous communities with traditional land use in proximity to the transmission line, and expanded upon our relationships and engaged Indigenous communities as active participants through significant contracts totalling $85 million. We look forward to continuing our partnership with local Indigenous communities through maintenance and operational contracts as part of our 35-year contract for the operation and maintenance of the line and associated substations.
Following early energization of the project in March 2019, we provided an opportunity for Indigenous communities along the route to purchase equity ownership. Seven Indigenous communities in Alberta purchased a combined 40 per cent equity interest in APL: 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.
Through this investment they have become active partners in energy development that is occurring in their backyard, and can use the resources from the project to invest in their communities as they choose, whether it be economic development and capacity building, community and cultural preservation, or otherwise.
APL is a true international success story, and an example for the world of how industry and Indigenous Peoples can work together to develop world-class energy infrastructure that benefits customers and communities alike.
This is the second time that ATCO has received the award, following our win in 2005 for the Dover to Whitefish Transmission Line.