Pipeline promises secure supply of fuel

The shaded area represents the areas served by existing gas co-ops, which the new pipeline will provide natural gas to.

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

A new natural gas pipeline from Peace River to La Crete is expected to create 50 jobs and be operational by 2022.

The project was announced on July 10 as one of the provincial government’s key strategic projects under Alberta’s Recovery Plan.

The government will grant at least $16 million to build 92 km of six-inch high-pressure natural gas supply line from the NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. Wolverine River Lateral pipeline northeast of Peace River north to La Crete.

“This project provides a secure, sustainable source of clean energy for the region, supporting agriculture and the rural economy as we work to recover from COVID-19,” says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen.

“The new supply line is essential to meet the rural natural gas demand of this growing economic region of Alberta.”

Natural gas shortages have already affected La Crete and surrounding communities during the long northern winters. A local state of emergency was declared in Mackenzie County in December 2017 and a reception centre was set up for people affected by natural gas supply outages after persistent cold weather.

The potential for future supply outages was also raised by local municipal officials to the previous provincial government, as population growth in the area makes shortages more likely due to increased use.

In 2018, former Minister Oneil Carlier said the Province was looking at short-term solutions for 5-10 years before committing to long-term projects such as a new pipeline.

Rainbow Lake councillors who were asked to provide a letter of support for a pipeline have also floated other suggestions such as a storage facility.

Meanwhile, Northern Lights Gas Co-op added compressors to its grid to increase pressure in the system and provide a short-term solution.

However, advocates of the new line say it is the only long-term way to prevent future supply problems.

“This additional gas line will be a more reliable and secure source of natural gas that is less vulnerable to freezing and supply loss during the winter. Adding a new pipeline is the only viable long-term solution to improve the integrity of the current natural gas supply system,” says John Fehr, board chair of Northern Lights Gas Co-op Ltd.

“The Peace River Constituency is leading the province in our Alberta Recovery Plan,” says Peace River MLA Dan Williams.

“This pipeline not only provides the basic infrastructure every Albertan deserves, like the guarantee of a warm home in a frigid northern winter, it will also create jobs for local residents and diversify our provincial economy with more opportunity for growth.”

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