Manitoba Hydro will be holding its third round of public and stakeholder consultations related to the proposed Bipole III transmission project over the next few months. Round Three will provide a forum to discuss alternative routing options for the transmission line, present an explanation of how alternate routes have been considered, and identify any issues and concerns from the public.
This third round of consultations follows two previous rounds held on the transmission project. Round One provided an introduction and general description of the project. Round Two—held from February to June 2009—offered information on the site selection and environmental assessment process. Round Two also provided an opportunity for people to identify potential issues related to the routing of the transmission line.
Environmental studies on Bipole III continue and Manitoba Hydro is collecting information that will contribute to the environmental assessment of the project. These studies will assess the potential effects of the project on terrestrial and aquatic surroundings, heritage resources, property, and socio-economic aspects, and will include the application of Aboriginal traditional knowledge.
A component of the Round Three consultations also includes public open houses, which will be held in various Manitoba locations over the next several months. The full schedule of open houses will be published in local newspapers and on Manitoba Hydro's website when those dates are confirmed.
The Bipole III transmission project is required to improve Manitoba Hydro's system reliability. The project will involve the construction of a new 500-kV high-voltage direct current transmission line and two new converter stations that will link the power produced from northern generating stations on the Nelson River to the delivery system in southern Manitoba. The northern converter station will be built approximately 80 km east of Gillam. The transmission line—which will incorporate steel towers on a 60 m right-of-way—will terminate in the south at the proposed Riel Converter Station site, just east of Winnipeg in the Rural Municipality of Springfield. The new line will also allow for expansion of future generating capacity in northern Manitoba.