TKTP: What's happening
As you may recall, we had been planning to replace the aging 287 kilovolt transmission line between Skeena Substation and Minette Substation with a new 287 kilovolt line on the west side of the Kitimat Valley. We also had been planning on replacing the short transmission line between Minette Substation and Kitimat Substation (at Rio Tinto Alcan).
We are now exploring the alternative of refurbishing the existing 287 kilovolt transmission line between Skeena Substation and Minette Substation. Our review has shown that the refurbishment of the existing line could safely meet current and future electricity demand at a lower cost than building the new line. This will help keep rates low for our rate payers.
We will place the permitting process for the new line on hold for a few months to allow us to further assess the refurbishment alternative.
What led to this change in scope?
We initially delayed the start of construction of the new line so that we could complete a worker safety review of the design of the new transmission line.
As we were conducting this review, we confirmed that the forecast cost of building the new line continued to increase from the original estimate. In light of these changes, we decided it would be prudent to look for other alternatives to meet current and future electricity demand.
As a result, we started studying the viability of refurbishing the existing 287 kilovolt transmission line between Terrace and Kitimat rather than building the new line.
So far, the viability study is indicating that refurbishing the existing line could restore the line to a rating where it could safely meet current and future known electricity demand at a lower cost than building the new line. A new line could still be required in addition to the refurbished line should future electricity demand increase in the area.
What will happen now?
Over the next few months, we will continue to look at the viability of refurbishing the existing line. If we were to move forward with the refurbishment, we would continue to perform routine maintenance on the existing line into the future to provide reliable power to Kitimat in the most cost effective way for our rate payers.
What would the refurbishment involve?
We need to look at the refurbishment alternative in more detail before we can provide details on what it would involve. It’s anticipated that the refurbishment would include the replacement of some structures and equipment. Some access upgrades and vegetation clearing may also be required to support the refurbishment.
What is the timing for the potential refurbishment?
Timing for refurbishment of the existing line has not yet been determined as we need to confirm its viability, consult with First Nations and stakeholders, and complete our design work.
Will we still have reliable power?
This potential change in project scope and construction delay will have no impact on the reliable supply of electricity to our current customers in the area. If we move forward with the refurbishment, the existing transmission line will be maintained until the refurbishment begins so that existing customers will continue to receive clean and reliable power.