One of the last vestiges of the power plant which operated at the site of the Rotary Splash park will be disappearing this fall, as ATCO Electric plans to remove the river crossing near the park.
“One of our main projects this year is putting the new feeder to downtown Drumheller underground,” said Golbeck.
This project includes routing the river crossing through conduit under Gordon Taylor Bridge. The line running along North Dinosaur Trail will also be buried from 17th Street, where the line descends into the valley from the Michichi substation, all the way to the bridge, changing the vista for residents and visitors travelling along the road to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Not only will it be more aesthetically pleasing but more secure.
“There’s a safety aspect,” said Golbeck. “We had a major outage last year on the north side of the river when a piece of large equipment hit one of the power poles as it crossed some industrial yards back there, so taking it out and putting it underground will remove that hazard.”
The project will also put a small span underground near the airport.
The project is expected to substantially complete this year at a cost of about $2.5 million.
ATCO is also in the process of completing a pilot project in the Greentree area where they are refitting about 20 light standards with LED (light emitting diode) elements. This is a project that is also being done in Jasper. LED lights use a fraction of the power of the standard high-pressure sodium lights, and have more longevity.
“We want to see how they perform under colder temperatures. The LEDs use less power, as well have a much longer life, up to ten times longer, and have a more pleasing light,” said Golbeck. “We will be monitoring that over the next year and talking to the folks in Greentree about how they like the lights.”
“The reason we are doing it in Drumheller is the town has really expressed a considerable amount of interest in trying it out. Although the streetlights are owned by ATCO, at the end of the day, The Town of Drumheller pays for the energy use and upkeep of these lights. With these lights there could be a possible positive impact.”
There are about 1,000 streetlights in Drumheller.
Another project ATCO is busy at is in Nacmine where they are developing a plan to address some of the safety issues and visual impact associated with front street service. A number of the homes serviced in Nacmine are from lines running on front streets. ATCO inherited this infrastructure.
The power lines crossing the residential area are low in places. There is also a large amount of new development and redevelopment of properties.
They are looking at the impact of rerouting lines underground, running them in back lanes or a combination of both to change the look and safety of the area.
“There are financial implications to customers to the town and to ATCO. First we’re developing a plan, then we are going to sit down with the folks affected and see what we can do,” said Golbeck.
ATCO is always concerned about safety around farms and have introduced a new program to help make a difference.
“We are concerned that every year we continue to have people hitting powerlines with oversized equipment or while moving granaries,” said Golbeck.
ATCO will work with members of the farming community and provide power staff and equipment free of charge for up to four hours to help when farmers are moving large equipment near ATCO utilities.
“Farm equipment is getting huge these days…and some of our older rural lines weren’t built to accommodate that type of equipment,” said Golbeck. “We are always concerned about the safety of our customers and the safety of our staff, those are paramount, so we want to be proactive.”