EDMONTON - Atco is setting its sights on the potential for northern hydro projects and new transmission lines to energize natural gas production in booming northwestern Alberta and British Columbia. “The Alberta government has taken an interest in looking at hydro as a replacement for coal-fired generation, and we have been continuing our talks with First Nations in the Northwest Territories. And the Taltson project is one they are supporting,” said Siegfried Kiefer, chief operating officer for Atco’s energy and utilities division. The proposed Taltson dam project just north of the Alberta border is fairly small, able to generate 56 megawatts and situated adjacent to an existing 18 MW power plant built in the 1960s for a now-closed mine. The expansion is a joint venture with local aboriginal groups through Dezé Energy, and already has obtained all necessary permits to proceed. It would provide electricity for diamond mines north of Lesser Slave Lake that now rely on expensive diesel fuel, as well as add capacity for residential customers in the region, including Yellowknife..