Hydro One announced it will seek the necessary approvals to construct a new double-circuit 500-kV line on a widened existing transmission corridor between the Bruce Power facility and Hydro One's Milton switching station located in the Town of Milton, the largest expansion to Ontario's transmission system in 20 years.
The news followed an announcement earlier in which the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) confirmed its preferred option and route for the new line to increase the province's transmission capacity and to allow for greater access to renewable energy and nuclear power from the Bruce region.
In a report released last fall, the OPA in its role to ensure an adequate, long-term supply of electricity for Ontario, identified the need and rationale for the new line to provide transmission capability to reliably transmit power from approximately 1,700 MW of new renewable generation identified in the region, as well as power from refurbished units at the Bruce Power facility.
The proposed 180-km, 500 kV transmission line, Ontario's newest clean energy corridor, is planned to be in-service by December 2011. The Bruce-to -Milton project is the second clean renewable transmission investment announced in recent months and represents an approximate investment of over $600 million in Ontario's transmission system.
The project is subject to both the Environmental Assessment (EA) Act and Ontario Energy Board (OEB) approvals. The company will initiate the EA process and will file a Section 92 (leave to construct) application with the OEB simultaneously to meet the service date for the line. Hydro One is committed to open consultation throughout the required approvals process.
Provincial land use policy requires that existing transmission corridors be utilized to the extent possible for new transmission lines. As such, Hydro One proposes widening the existing 500-kV corridor and constructing the new line along the north and east side of the widened existing corridor, to avoid the need to establish a new right-of-way. Rights to an additional 53-61 meters (175-200 feet) of land adjacent to the existing corridor will be required. Widening the transmission corridor makes it necessary for Hydro One to obtain additional easement rights and, in a limited number of cases, purchase properties.
"Ontarians expect reliable and cost-effective power and a transmission system that provides it to their homes, schools, farms and businesses. Our investment [in the new line] meets this need," said Laura Formusa, President and CEO, Hydro One (Acting). "This project is important to secure Ontario's clean and renewable energy future. We are sensitive to concerns of property owners, Aboriginal communities, local municipalities and stakeholders impacted by the project and will work to ensure that we manage their concerns in a manner that is fair and responsible."