By Anthony Capkun
December 5, 2012 – BC Hydro says a new 500kV, 247-km transmission line from Merritt to Coquitlam that will improve power delivery to homes and businesses on B.C.’s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island is now under construction.
“Over the next 20 years, the population of the Lower Mainland is expected to grow to 3.4 million, and more people mean more homes and businesses needing power,” said Greg Reimer, executive VP Transmission & Distribution, BC Hydro. “While the transmission system that brings energy to the Lower Mainland continues to operate reliably today, it is nearing capacity and needs to be upgraded so that communities in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island will continue to enjoy reliable power.”
Work crews are currently improving access roads, clearing the line’s right-of-way and installing tower foundations. The utility says that, during its three years of construction, the project will create economic opportunities for local vendors and suppliers, and generate about 540 person-years of employment.
The project will expand the capacity of BC Hydro’s transmission system that delivers power from BC Hydro’s generating facilities in the North and Southern Interior to the aforementioned communities, currently totalling 1.4 million industrial, commercial and residential customers.
The $709-million Interior to Lower Mainland project includes construction of the transmission line between the Nicola Substation near Merritt and the Meridian Substation in Coquitlam, a new series capacitor station at Ruby Creek on BC Hydro property, and improvements to the Nicola and Meridian substations.
The new line will parallel an existing 500kV transmission line for the majority of the route along mostly existing right-of-way. (When the existing line was constructed in the 1970s, additional right-of-way was acquired in anticipation of future demand, says BC Hydro).
The utility retained Flatiron-Graham to design and build the new transmission line. ABB will design and construct the new series capacitor station at Ruby Creek, and BC Hydro will manage work required at Nicola and Meridian substations as part of the overall project. The planned in-service date is January 2015.