WKTP: What's happening

A 138 kilovolt transmission line

We're planning for a new transmission line to Westbank Substation

Over the last year-and-a-half, we've been studying three alternatives [PDF, 506 KB] for a new, secondary transmission line so we can continue delivering clean, reliable power to the growing communities of West Kelowna and Peachland. While the existing line into the area has provided reliable power to the communities for decades, a new line will strengthen and reinforce the existing transmission network.

We've identified a leading alternative

BC Hydro has identified Alternative 2: to Nicola Substation as the leading alternative. This alternative involves building a new transmission line from Nicola Substation to Westbank Substation using a different route than the existing transmission line.

We chose this alternative for the following reasons:

  • It's been assessed as more favourable than Alternatives 1: to Vernon Terminal Substation and Alternative 3: to FortisBC System from an overall safety, environmental, socio-economic and cost perspective;
  • It poses low geotechnical risk which can be reduced by routing and design of the new line. It is unlikely that an event (e.g. landslide) would impact the existing line and the new line at the same time; and
  • It has the second lowest fire risk which can be reduced by the use of steel poles, routing, design, adequate separation from the existing line and vegetation management. In addition, there is no record of a wildfire in British Columbia with a diameter larger than 20 km. Given the study area for Alternative 2 is 50 km wide, there is space to ensure adequate separation of the existing and new transmission line. Also, Nicola Substation is a 500kV station built with redundancy and additional fire protection.

Since February 2015, our work on all three alternatives has included area planning and desktop studies, wildfire risk and geotechnical risk assessments, as well as ongoing First Nations consultation, stakeholder engagement and discussions with all levels of government.

What's happening next

During the next stage of the project we will undertake visual environmental, socio-economic, archaeological, traditional use and engineering studies for Alternative 2 as the leading alternative. These visual studies are expected to take place from mid-June 2017 to March 2018. Some studies will also be completed for Alternative 3 in order to confirm our assessments.

There are no plans to continue to study Alternative 1 as it poses the highest level of safety, environmental, socio-economic and cost risk. At the end of this process we will make a decision on our preferred alternative, expected to be made in 2017/2018.

We will continue working with First Nations and engaging with our stakeholders throughout the planning and implementation of the project.

Transmission alternatives

Over the last year-and-a-half, we've been studying three alternatives with options:

Alternative 1: To Vernon Terminal Substation

Build a new transmission line on the west side of Okanagan Lake, connecting Westbank Substation to the Vernon Terminal Substation.

Alternative 2: To Nicola Substation, leading alternative

Build a new transmission line from Nicola Substation to Westbank Substation using a different route than the existing transmission line.

Alternative 3: To FortisBC

Build a new transmission line, including a submarine cable across Okanagan Lake, connecting Westbank Substation to the FortisBC system.

  • 3A: Connecting Westbank Substation to DG Bell Substation in the FortisBC system.
  • 3B: FortisBC building a new substation in West Kelowna and a transmission line crossing Okanagan Lake to Saucier Substation (part of the FortisBC system in Kelowna. In this option, we would build a new transmission line from Westbank Substation to the new FortisBC substation).

We have maps showing where each of the substations [PDF, 956 KB] in the project study area are located.