US-Canada tie-line for wind approved

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Montana Alberta Tie Ltd (MATL), owned by Toronto-based Tonbridge Power, has been issued a presidential permit for its 300 MW international power line, the final regulatory approval it needed to start construction of the 230 kV merchant interconnection stretching 346 kilometres from Lethbridge, Alberta, across the US border to Great Falls, Montana. Wind power developers have booked all the capacity on the transmission connection between Canada and the US. The permit was granted after the US Department of Energy completed its review of the environmental impacts of the proposal. "We know that many stakeholders have contributed to this process and we look forward to completing the financing process and consulting with landowners while we get ready for construction," says CEO Johan van't Hof. The company still has to deal with some dissent, however, as landowners on both sides of the border are appealing the project approvals. The new line will provide access to the power network for a number of proposed major wind farms in northern Montana, where the lack of high capacity transmission has stymied developers' ability to bring projects online. MATL has sold long term capacity rights to four companies with 600 MW of wind projects under development that will tie into the line at about its midpoint, with half the power flowing north into Alberta and half south to Great Falls.

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