By: Tawnya Plain Eagle

Piikani Nation is pleased to announce a first of its kind partnership with AltaLink. On Monday June 1, 2019 Piikani Nation exercised its purchase of 51 per cent of the equity value from the 240 kV transmission line that crosses its land.

“I’m very proud of the partnership we have created with AltaLink, my acknowledgement to all of those that have helped solidify this relationship, past and present,” said Doane Crow Shoe President of Piikani Resource Development Ltd.

The Piikani Nation and AltaLink required project approvals and permits from both Indigenous and Northern Affairs of Canada (INAC) and the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC). As a result, the project took longer than originally anticipated from both the Piikani and AltaLink perspectives. Regulatory approvals for the project construction and the “PiikaniLink Limited Partnership (L.P.)” included:

Piikani Chief and Council and PiikaniLink Executives last Friday. Photo by Tawnya Plain Eagle

The INAC Permit dated on July 25, 2008 and amended on December 21, 2009 allowed for the transmission line to be located on Piikani Nation reserve. On January 8, 2010, the AUC approved AltaLink’s project application to locate the transmission line on reserve, following which, construction for the South West Alberta 240 kV Transmission Development (SW 240 kV Line) commenced on Piikani Nation. The SW 240 kV Line was energized in October 2010.

The AUC conducted an audit of the SW 240 kV Project costs between 2014-2016, through which the AUC determined that all project costs were acceptable to rate payers.

On March 6, 2017, AltaLink and Piikani Nation formed PiikaniLink L.P. which would allow our First Nation to purchase up to 51% of the L.P.’s assets subject to approval from the AUC. On April 27, 2017, AltaLink applied to the AUC requesting to sell and transfer the SW 240 kV Line and substation equipment on Piikani Nation reserve to PiikaniLink L.P. The limited partnership was approved by the AUC on November 13, 2018.

Subsequently, Piikani Nation applied to the AUC on November 30, 2018, for approval to purchase the equity portion of the PiikaniLink L.P. transmission assets. This required the AUC to approve Piikani Transmission Holding Limited Partnership and its financing arrangements to become the majority owner of PiikaniLink L.P. The AUC approved Piikani’s application on April 18, 2019.

On June 1, 2019, Piikani Nation completed the purchase of PiikaniLink L.P. shares to own 51% of Alberta’s newest transmission company.

For further information regarding the permitting process go to www.prdl.ca/uploads/4/1/6/9/41694341/piikanilinklp.pdf

“Despite the many obstacles and time delays we had to face, we are very proud to see this project finally come to fruition,” said Chief Stan Grier.

The timeliness of this acquisition indicates there is still work to be done in terms of public and regulatory acceptability of First Nations becoming larger participants in all aspects of this regulated industry.

“Piikani looks forward to the long-term benefits alongside AltaLink. It is my hope that this collaboration will improve how Indigenous communities can be a part of the evolving energy sector,” Crow Shoe said.

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