$15 million spent on cancelled transmission line

BC Hydro had already spent approximately $15 million on planning a new transmission line route between Kitimat and Terrace before deciding that refurbishing the existing line might be less expensive than constructing a new one, indicates information received from the provincial crown corporation.

“The new transmission line route has been surveyed in the field, some existing roads were upgraded to improve stream crossings, and helipads were installed to provide access for design and environmental assessments,” said BC Hydro’s Mora Scott of the money spent.

“The work to date could be useful in the future as a new line could still be required should future electricity demand increase in the area.”

The prospect of a new line was first announced in 2014 with BC Hydro at the time saying the existing 287 kilovolt line between BC Hydro’s Skeena Substation near Terrace and its Minette substation near Kitimat had come to the end of its useful life.

Planning included surveying a new route down the west side of the Kitimat Valley which, at 48km long, would have been shorter than the existing 59km line which runs down the east side of the valley.

A final budget for the new line and route had not been established but 2016 estimates by BC Hydro placed the cost at anywhere from $100 million to $170 million.

Scott said increasing cost estimates for a new line and route convinced the crown corporation refurbishment of the existing line might be cheaper and still ensure power reliability.

“The main reason for the increased cost for the new line are related to design refinement, increased clearing and access requirements, and transmission line construction costs,” she said.

“No specific items led to the increase in environmental costs. Environmental costs generally increased as we continued to refine the scope of the project.”

Scott added that the cost of refurbishment combined with the money spent to date would still likely be less than building a new line over a new route.

A refurbishment project cost has yet to be determined but should be ready within several months, she added.

“It’s anticipated that the refurbishment would include the replacement of some structures and equipment. Some access upgrades and vegetation clearing may also be required to support the refurbishment,” said Scott.

New route planning costs included contracts with First Nations for work on the ground as well as economic benefits agreements.

Scott said First Nations, including the Haisla and the Kitselas, are on the contact list as the refurbishment project moves along.

“We will consult with First Nations in detail on the refurbishment and potential contract opportunities moving forward,” she said.

BC Hydro said a less expensive refurbishment project would also reduce the impact of increased user rates for its customers.

The 2.5 km line from the Minette substation to the Kitimat substation at Rio Tinto’s aluminum smelter is part of the refurbishment project.

Just Posted

‘Avalanche Awareness Days’ emphasize backcountry safety at Shames

The Skeena Bar and Shames Mountain Co-op both holding events this weekend

Wilson returns to Pacific Crest Trail undeterred

Terrace hiker was forced to abandon journey last year due to back injury at 566-mile marker

More exported goods needed for Terrace transloading facility “financially viable,” according to report

Build-out of SIDP lands, potential for micro-LNG facilities could warrant future development

Province provides three rural grants to Terrace

Each project will receive $10,000 to boost their operations

Student rangers sought for Terrace

Young adults interested in student ranger program have until Feb. 24 to apply

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read