Monday, May 6, 2013

BC Hydro suspends its study on North Coast Transmission Project

There may be much in the way of talk of increased industrial development plans for the Northwest, but when it comes to the need for electricity to power up all of those proposals, it seems that for the moment BC Hydro believes that all our electricity needs will be met.

The Hydro service forwarded a letter to the Prince George City Council for their meeting tonight, which outlines their reasoning in not moving forward with a project known as the North Coast Transmission Line.

It was a proposed a transmission line project that would run from Prince George to Terrace and which was still in the early study phase of potential development.

"While BC Hydro continues to keep electricity supply options to the North Coast open, we do not plan to proceed with any further studies into the NCT at this time. Nor, at this time, will we be looking further into acquiring statutory rights-of-way over private or Crown land for a new 500 kV transmission line between Prince George and Terrace"

The North Coast Transmission Line project was just one of a number of proposed Hydro projects to be considered for the Northwest, the largest active project at the moment, is the Northwest Transmission Project.

That major project in the Northwest is adding to the hydro capacity of the Highway 37 North corridor and is now in the development stage, with land clearing and site preparations currently underway to add capacity for the many mining options in that region.

You can review more of that project from the BC Hydro website.

In addition to the Northwest Transmission project, BC Hydro is currently upgrading the power lines of the Terrace to Kitimat connection, with completion of that project anticipated for November.

In the course of their letter to Prince George City Council (which you can read here) BC Hydro based their decision to mothball the study as part of the course of discussions with industry officials about their future electricity needs.

The results of those recent discussion giving BC Hydro cause to decide against moving forward on the project at this time. BC Hydro did not advise in their letter as to when, or if they would look at the proposed project again.

The shelving of the Transmission Line Study most likely will come as a bit of surprise to some observers in the Northwest, especially with all the recent talk of LNG terminals and the proposal for an Oil Refinery for the Kitimat region among some of the recent announcements for the region.

Those are all considered major projects and depending on the number of them that find their way to the development stage, would be projects that would require large electricity requirements upon the start of their operations.

Opinion 250 in Prince George had the first word on the story, the review from a Prince George perspective can be found here.

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