New undersea cable supplies Island electricity
COMMENT: In 2000, BC Hydro said it was going to replace aging transmission infrastructure with the GSX, a natural gas pipeline to the island, and with new gas-fired generation plants on the island. Importing natural gas, said Hydro and its government sponsors, would increase energy self-sufficiency on the island.
Replace the cables, said the GSX Concerned Citizens Coalition. Five years later, in 2005, BC Hydro cancelled the pipeline project, the Duke Point Power project, wrote down $125 million, and turned its attention to replacing the cables.
For other community and citizen groups, two lessons learned:
- the emperor frequently is wearing no clothes. Trust your research and your understanding and your instincts, and don't let them bluff.
- your campaign will last a lot longer than you expect, so you must also ensure you build the organizational capacity and resources to sustain the campaign.
By Andrew A. Duffy
That pleasant hum you hear is no longer just the echo of Christmas carols, but the electricity being sent to Vancouver Island through new undersea transmission lines.
The Vancouver Island Transmission Project, known as VITR, was undertaken to replace 51-year-old power lines that link the Island to the mainland electricity grid.
The project was completed and brought up to full power by the B.C. Transmission Corp. last week.
The $298-million project -- a number forecast to be about 15 per cent more expensive than originally expected due to increased construction costs --replaced and upgraded the existing 138-kilovolt overhead transmission lines and one of the existing submarine cable circuits connecting southern Vancouver Island to the Lower Mainland with new 230 kV infrastructure.
The replacement of the undersea lines, which provide more than 10 per cent of the electricity to the Island, increases the capacity to the Island by 600 megawatts of power or about 25 per cent of the peak load.
According to B.C. Hydro, Vancouver Island consumes about 2,100 megawatts of power at any given time, while the Island has the capacity to produce only 690 megawatts -- enough to power 690,000 homes.
As on-Island generation makes up about 30 per cent of the peak load, the Island is heavily reliant on the cable system -- especially because the need is projected to increase by nearly 50 per cent by 2025.
The VITR was brought into service in stages, as BCTC began by energizing mainland sections of the VITR overhead lines and associated submarine cables back in October.
The old cables were removed from the seabed in the fall of 2007 and were replaced in the summer and fall of 2008.
The removal of the cable resulted in the recycling of more than 450,000 kilograms of copper from the cable, which garnered the British Columbia Transmission Corp. about $4 million.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times ColonistPosted by Arthur Caldicott on 31 Dec 2008