By Stephanie Lai
July 4, 2013 – Manitoba Hydro is seeking public input in planning a route for a new transmission line in southeastern Manitoba called the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project, saying the public engagement process will help identify and refine the most suitable route taking into account impacts on people and the environment.
“We will introduce the 500kV AC international transmission line project to the public and gather input to develop a full public engagement process that will begin in early fall of 2013,” said Shannon Johnson, manager of licensing and environmental assessment at Manitoba Hydro. “The first steps in the process include informing Manitoba Hydro customers and landowners of the project and initiating contact with municipal and Aboriginal leaders and interest groups.”
Manitoba Hydro has signed firm sale agreements with U.S. energy utilities valued at $7 billion that will help offset capital investments required to meet Manitoba electricity demand. The new transmission project was triggered by the 250MW 15-year sale to Minnesota Power that was announced in May 2011. The project will provide increased transmission capacity for Manitoba Hydro to earn revenue from the sale of surplus power and will enhance the reliability of supply in Manitoba through increased ability to import electricity in times of drought or other emergencies, explained the utility.
The proposed route will travel from Winnipeg to the Manitoba-Minnesota border. Here it will connect to the Great Northern transmission Line to be constructed by Minnesota Power terminating in the vicinity of Duluth, Minn. Subject to regulatory approvals, the projected in-service date is mid-2020. The estimated cost of constructing the line to the border and upgrades at the Dorsey, Riel and Glenboro Stations is $350 million. The project will be part of the Public Utility Board’s Need For and Alternatives To Review of Manitoba Hydro’s development plan in early 2014.