Bipole III plan heads for public review
Dec. 1, 2011 - Bruce Owen - winnipegfreepress.com
Hydro will put its plans for the Bipole III transmission up for public review.|
Manitoba Hydro’s plan to build the $3.28-billion
Bipole III high-voltage transmission line down the
west side of the province has been filed to the province
for public review.
The environmental impact statement (EIS) is the latest
stage in Hydro’s plan to start building the
line in late 2012 with it expected to go into service
Hydro said Thursday the EIS provides information
on the environmental assessment for the project,
including the 1,384-kilometre route.
Hydro says the route was chosen after extensive public
and landowner consultation done between February
2008 - March 2011. The route avoids national and
provincial arks and First Nation reserve lands.
Hydro also says it will provide an equitable compensation
package to landowners for easements required along
the right-of-way and has developed a Community Development
Initiative to provide benefits to eligible communities
in the vicinity of Bipole III facilities.
It’s also anticipated Manitoba’s Clean
Environment Commission will hold public hearings
on the project.
The new bipole line is needed to move more power
from northern dams south to export markets in the
northern United States. Hydro has already signed
deals with utilities in Wisconsin and Minnesota to
supply power over the next 20 years, earning Hydro
$21 billion in anticipated revenue.
Construction of the bipole line also means construction
of new dams. On the drawing board is the $5.5-billion
Keeyask generating station (695 megawatts) to see
first power by 2019-20 and the $7.7-billion Conawapa
generating station to see first power by 2023-24.
Hydro’s newest dam, the $1.6-billion Wuskwatim
generating station near Thompson (200 megawatts),
comes online soon.
Four years ago the NDP decided to build the new transmission
line, to be the third bringing power south from northern
dams, to protect the boreal forest on east side of
Lake Winnipeg, and a bid to designate it as a United
Nations world heritage site.