T&D World Magazine

BC Transmission Submits Columbia Valley Powerline Plan for Approval

BC Transmission Corp. filed its plan to meet the growing need for electricity in the upper Columbia Valley with the provincial utility regulator.

The application for what’s called a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) identifies the proposed route for the project, the alternatives considered, First Nations and public consultation activities undertaken, and the costs and benefits of BCTC’s proposed Columbia Valley Transmission Project.

“The need for this project is clear – the current transmission system in the Valley is close to capacity and needs to be upgraded,” said Bruce Barrett, BCTC’s vice-president of Major Projects. “The new 230-kV transmission line between Invermere and a new substation called Kicking Horse, near Golden, are at the heart of this project and are the best way for us to meet that need in a timely manner. It’s the most cost-effective way to do it, and would be more reliable than any alternative examined.”

The $155 million project includes:

  • A new Kicking Horse substation near Golden
  • A 230-kV transmission line connect the existing Invermere substation to the Kicking Horse substation.
  • A 69-kV transmission line connecting the new substation with the existing Golden Substation.
  • Expansion of the current Invermere and Golden substations.

An extensive public consultation process helped BCTC prepare the application. Consultation included meetings with municipal councils, Chambers of Commerce, local First Nations, as well as ten public open houses and meetings in Radium Hot Springs, Golden, and Brisco in June, September and November of 2009. During the CPCN process to determine if the project is in the public interest, the BC Utilities Commission will examine:

  • the need for the project
  • project alternatives studied
  • BCTC’s justification for the proposed transmission corridor
  • the construction and operating costs
  • socio-economic and nonfinancial factors.

Ultimately, the Commission has the authority to decide whether to approve the project and BCTC’s recommended route, and may choose an alternative solution or combination of solutions.

“Most of our electricity system was built in the 1960s and 1970s. Parts of it need to be replaced and portions like the upper Columbia Valley are near their capacity,” Barrett added. “The Columbia Valley Project is a key piece of BCTC’s ongoing work to enhance BC’s transmission grid – for local residents and for the province.”

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