24 July 2015

The Line They Didn’t Need #nlpoli

For some time now, Nalcor has needed an extra line from Bay d’Espoir to increase the capacity across the Isthmus of Avalon. 

They just kept finding excuses not to install it.

In January 2014,  Nalcor chief executive Ed Martin told CBC’s Ted Blades that  the line would be the most expensive option with additional generation on the Avalon being more cost-effective.  Nalcor’s analysis, according to Martin, showed there was no justification for the extra line. 

Generation on this side of the Isthmus was also contrary to the rationales for Muskrat Falls, but consistency or even solid evidence has never seemed to matter to Martin and his management gang.

Anyway,  Nalcor’s subsidiary Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has finally started down the road of building the line.They’ve registered the project for environmental review.  Here’s the official government statement from the Environmental Assessment Bulletin issued Thursday:

Bay d'Espoir to Western Avalon TL 267 Transmission Line (Reg. 1803)
Proponent: Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro

The proponent proposes to construct a 188 kilometre, 230 kilovolt transmission line to connect the existing Bay d'Espoir and Western Avalon Terminal Stations. The proposed new line will parallel two existing transmission lines from Bay d'Espoir to Sunnyside on the Avalon Peninsula. The width of the proposed transmission line right of way is 40 metres and runs south of the existing transmission lines passing through the Bay du Nord Wilderness Reserve. The proposal will require the removal of the right of way area from the Bay du Nord Wilderness Reserve. The proponent also proposes to upgrade the existing infrastructure at Bay d'Espoir and Western Avalon terminal stations. The rationale for the project is to ensure the continued stability and reliability of the Island Interconnected System particularly during faulting events.

The Wilderness and Ecological Reserve Advisory Council (WERAC) has also been asked to review the proposal in accordance with s. 21(2) of the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act which stipulates the process to decrease the area of a reserve. The public is advised that the WERAC process will also include a public consultation hosted by WERAC as per s. 16 of the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act. The Minister will make a single decision on the entire project once the EA and WERAC processes have been completed.

Construction is proposed to begin in March 2016.

The undertaking was registered on July 20, 2015 and the deadline for public comments is August 26, 2015. Public comments can be sent to EAprojectcomments@gov.nl.ca