Manitoba Hydro has submitted an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Bipole III, 500 kV DC, Transmission Project to Manitoba Conservation.
"Completion of the EIS marks an important milestone in moving this critical project forward for construction," said President and CEO, Bob Brennan. "Bipole III is essential to ensuring the reliability and security of Manitoba's power supply. Bipole III also has the additional benefit of adding more transmission capacity to deliver electricity from existing and planned hydroelectric generating stations to southern markets."
The $3.28 billion project involves the construction of a new 500-kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line on a right-of-way that is 66 m wide, along with new converter stations, one in the north and another at the southern receiving end.
The EIS presents information on the environmental assessment for the project, including the 1384 km route. The route was chosen after extensive public and landowner consultation, conducted from February 2008 - March 2011. The route avoids National and Provincial Parks and First Nation reserve lands. Manitoba Hydro 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.
A review and licensing process conducted by Manitoba Conservation under Manitoba's Environment Act will provide an opportunity for comments on the Bipole III EIS. In addition, Manitoba Hydro anticipates the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission will hold public hearings on the project. Subject to regulatory approval, the project schedule calls for construction to get under way in late 2012 with a 2017 in-service date.