Green energy is about more than just renewables. It’s a philosophy built around respect for the environment we all share and a belief that it should be protected. AltaLink understands the importance of minimizing its impact on Alberta’s natural landscapes and its inhabitants, so we strive to balance the effect of our operations on the environment. We have set strict standards by which to operate our business with respect to our environmental responsibilities, including an Environment Management System.
In 2016, we set a goal to reduce our energy consumption by two per cent. How did we do? Not only did we meet our goal but we doubled it by reducing our energy consumption by four per cent. We saved 402,470 kilowatt-hours (kWH) of electricity, 51,005 litres of fuel and 484 tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s the equivalent of taking 124 cars off the road.
Through our Avian Protection Plan, the first one ever created by a Canadian utility, we work to protect birds in the areas where we operate. Our plan includes ensuring birds are safe when they nest on power poles, assessing all projects and existing power lines for potential collision risk, and requiring that the electrical clearances on our power poles and in our substations are sufficient for birds to safely perch on.
We use bird markers to make power lines more visible, reducing potential collisions by at least 50 per cent. These are usually installed on an overhead shield wire, which is used to protect lines from lightning strikes, because it is thin and more difficult for birds to see.
In 2016, we installed 7,500 markers over a two month period on power lines in the Frank Lake area near High River. These markers use a modified design that allows them to be installed on energized high voltage lines, making AltaLink the first company to use the technology on a 500 kilovolt (kV) line.