The province’s power systems manager wants Hydro One to get a jumpstart on power line planning in northwestern Ontario in anticipation of new mines coming into production.
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is requesting Hydro One start development work for a new transmission line, extending west of Thunder Bay. Known as the Northwest Bulk Transmission Line, it was identified by the provincial government as a priority in the Long-Term Energy Plan in 2017.
It’s a three-phase project that involves running a double circuit 230-kilovolt line from Thunder Bay to Atikokan, from Atikokan to Dryden, and from Dryden to the Manitoba border. The IESO recommends Hydro One starts work on the first two phases.
The scope of planning work involves preliminary design-engineering, cost estimation, public consultation, routing and siting, and environmental assessment.
The IESO isn’t putting a timeline on when the construction would begin because, at this point, the extra power capacity isn’t needed. But that could dramatically change if new mines come into production sooner than expected.
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