Energy & Power
Transmission & Distribution
SaskPower’s $330-million I1K transmission line is complete
By Anthony Capkun
August 23, 2016 – SaskPower celebrated the conclusion of the $330-million Island Falls to Key Lake (I1K) transmission line project in northern Saskatchewan, which promises to increase “power reliability and capacity for communities while supporting continued economic development in the north”.
“The I1K project was one of the most complex transmission projects in North America,” said SaskPower president and CEO Mike Marsh, noting the challenging terrain, working conditions, unique design and helicopter construction activities.
The new line has a lifespan of 50+ years and, boasts SaskPower, incorporates the newest technologies, such as lightning protection and platforms to prevent birds from building nests on the power structures. In collaboration with SaskTel, 300-km of overhead fiber cable was also strung atop of I1K lines, increasing bandwidth and capacity to their northern network.
The line is supported by 760 towers, each of which was assembled onsite from more than 2000 individual pieces. This required work during several harsh winters and the use of 45 helicopters, which flew more than 30,000 hours over the life of the project.
The project required the support of 64 companies and an average of 250-300 full-time workers daily over a five-year period. In total, the project took about 1.8 million hours of work.
SaskPower subcontracted various work on the project to local Aboriginal and northern businesses. Community members from both Lac La Ronge Indian Band and Peter Ballantyne Creek Nation performed right-of-way clearing. Other work projects performed by local Aboriginal and northern businesses included tower assembly and support to ground services. This led to nearly $60 million of the project budget invested in northern businesses.