In its application, the AESO said there is about 2300 MW of wind power under development in the area, but it anticipates only 700 MW of that will be built in the next decade.
In addition, demand in the region is expected to more than double between now and 2017. This will be driven largely by coal bed methane producers and oil and gas pipelines that require a significant amount of power to operate pumping facilities.
"This reinforcement will provide a transmission highway to wind farms spread over a wide geographic area throughout east central Alberta while at the same time, meeting demand for electricity caused by industrial development in the area," said Shan Bhattacharya, the AESO's vice-president of transmission.
The new transmission will be developed in two stages. The first carries a price tag of approximately C$849 million and is targeted to be in service by 2012. Stage 2, with an estimated cost of C$157 million, is expected in service by 2017.