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    Connecting to the Grid

    Attention Market Participants

    As a result of the Government of Alberta “pause” on renewable power plant application approvals, the AESO provided Market Participants with the flexibility of a seven-month extension to the Stage 3 maximum timeline, for renewable projects in Stage 3 of the Connection process that did not have power plant approval. Now that the pause has ended, standard stage maximums are back in effect and the pause extension will no longer be granted. The AESO's new Cluster Assessment process was not impacted by the pause, and the key dates for Cluster 1 and 2 remain as communicated on the AESO website.

    Market Participants are reminded of the role of a power plant or energy storage facility application in the AESO's Connection Process: 

    • Power plant and/or energy storage facility application filing is required before the end of Stage 3 (transmission connected projects) 
    • Power plant and/or energy storage facility application approval is required prior to the start of Stage 5 (both distribution and transmission connected projects)

    The AESO Connection Process 

    The AESO Connection Process is used to facilitate a market participant's request for new or altered system access service on Alberta's transmission system. The following information is provided to assist market participants as they navigate the process.

    Improvements to the AESO Connection Process are underway. See the Cluster Assessments page for more information. For an overview of how Cluster Assessments will fit into the AESO Connection Process, see the graphic here.

    *The sub-process called Connection Process will be renamed to Transmission Process. Th
    e website is being updated to reflect this change.

    Click the Buttons Below to Learn More About Each Process.

    • Initiating a Project

      For generation and energy storage projects that will inject at least 5 MW of new or additional flow into the Alberta interconnected electric system (AIES) at the facility’s connection to the AIES, the applicant must submit a SASR for Cluster Project. The SASR will be considered for the next Cluster Assessment. Please note, the SASR must be submitted with a Stage 0 PDUP, Stage 0 PDUP Checklist, Conceptual Facility SLD, and Section 101 waiver or confirmation. In addition, the applicant must confirm in the SASR that they have at least 90% site control for the facility. Please note, a new SASR Guide for Cluster projects will be published in mid-April. The current SASR and SASR Guide will be updated to remove sections applicable to Cluster projects.

      Submitting a System Access Service Request (SASR) initiates a request for new or altered system access service to the transmission system. Prior to submitting a SASR, please review the SASR and SASR Guide in detail to understand the requirements. The following are the initial steps to consider prior to submitting a SASR to the AESO:

      • Determine the reason for requesting system access service (e.g., load growth, new generation, etc.) and the capacity to be served by the proposed project.
      • Review the Transmission Capability Map to assist in making an informed decision related to generation capacity and location siting of the proposed project, where applicable.  
      • Contact the Distribution Facility Owner (DFO) in the region where the proposed project will be located. The DFO will help determine if the proposed project can be supported through a connection to the distribution system. If not, a SASR will need to be submitted. The DFO will help determine who will submit the SASR.
      • Determine who will act as the Integrated Project Manager (IPM) for the proposed project. The IPM can be the market participant, AESO, Transmission Facility Owner (TFO) or a consultant. See the SASR Guide for more information.
      • Determine who will act as the Study Consultant. The Study Consultant will work with the AESO on behalf of the market participant to perform connection studies for the project.  See the SASR Guide for more information.
      • Read the Terms and Conditions for using the CEII Request Portal. Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII) is required for connection studies, and Terms and Conditions for its use will need to be accepted when the SASR is submitted.

      When ready to move the project forward, complete and submit the SASR.

    • Types of Projects

      Each project type outlined below follows a designated process. As the project moves forward and new information becomes available, the project type may change at the discretion of the AESO. The different project types can be found below. Please note:

      • A project involving a distributed energy resource (DER) may be any of the project types below. If your project involves a DER, please talk to the distribution facility owner (DFO) in your area. A list of DFOs and their contact information can be found in the large distribution-connected generators section on the Joining The Market page.
      • New, altered, or terminated System Access Service (SAS) agreements may result in a recalculation of the construction contribution for new or existing facilities. See Sections 4 and 5 of the ISO Tariff for more information.

      Connection Project

      A connection project requires new or altered transmission facilities to expand or enhance the capability of the transmission system, which are built by the designated TFO upon receipt of regulatory approvals. The project may require a new or altered SAS agreement.

      Market Participant Choice (MPC) Project

      MPC is a variation of a connection project that meets the criteria outlined in the Transmission Regulation where the TFO and market participant agree that the market participant will build a portion (or all) of the transmission facility in lieu of the TFO, and where ownership of that portion is transferred to the TFO upon completion. See the Market Participant Choice page for more information.

      Behind the Fence (BTF) Project

      A BTF project involves a market participant altering their existing facilities connected to the transmission system which results in the market participant having to submit data to the AESO pursuant to Section 502.15 of the ISO rules. The project may arise from new, altered, or decommissioned market participant facilities. Additions or alterations of transmission facilities that expand or enhance the capability of the transmission system are not required, but the project may require a new or altered SAS agreement.

      Contract Capacity Change Project

      A contract capacity change project alters or terminates an existing SAS agreement. Alterations to transmission facilities or the market participant’s existing facilities connected to the transmission system are not required.

    • Information Document

      ID #2018-018T Provision of System Access Service and the Connection Process establishes the AESO’s practices for the efficient and effective processing and decision making about system access service requests. 

      Note: This ID replaces the former Connection Queue Business Practices and the Stage 2 On Hold document.

    Looking for the Project List and Map? 

    Find them on Connection Project Reporting.

    Contact Us

    For any questions relating to the project types below, please contact Customer Connections.

    • Connection Projects
    • Behind the Fence Projects
    • Contract Capacity Change Projects