Illustration shows planned BC Hydro line to supply power to contemplated LNG project at Kitimat. (BC Hydro illustration)

BC Hydro studying new power connection in northwest B.C.

Would supply hydro-electric power to planned LNG plant at Kitimat

B.C. Hydro is embarking upon a study of how it would provide power to a contemplated liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Kitimat called Kitimat LNG.

Kitimat LNG would use hydro-electricity to compress natural gas into a super-cooled liquid form for export, requiring BC Hydro to construct a stand-alone distribution network specifically for the project.

The study envisions a network beginning with a new 287 kV line from BC Hydro’s Skeena Substation south of Terrace to a new substation near the existing Minette Bay substation near Kitimat.

A shorter 287kV line would be needed to connect the new substation to the Minette Bay one and a new 287kV line would be needed to connect the new substation to Rio Tinto Alcan.

Kitimat LNG would build its own line connecting its plant to the new substation.

As currently contemplated, the new 287kV line would run down the west side of the Kitimat Valley.

In that fashion, this new line revives a project BC Hydro was planning several years ago to replace its current 287kV line from the Skeena Substation which runs down the east side of the Kitimat Valley to Minette Bay.

But that was cancelled when BC Hydro decided it could refurbish the current line at a far cheaper cost then constructing a new one along a new route.

Kitimat LNG is a long-contemplated project which has gone through several ownership structures over the years.

It is now a partnership of Chevron Canada and Woodside, an Australian company.

But in December of last year, Chevron announced it wanted to sell its portion of the project, a move that would include its ownership of natural gas fields in northeastern B.C. and its ownership portion of the Pacific Trail Pipeline project which would transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the planned Kitimat LNG facility.

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