BC Hydro studying ways to bring power to Woodfibre | Squamish Chief

BC Hydro studying ways to bring power to Woodfibre

Final options will be unveiled to the public at open houses

BC Hydro staff is working on ways to supply electricity to the proposed Woodfibre LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant set to be operational in 2017 near Squamish.

There are three possible ways of connecting the proposed, controversial facility to Hydro’s grid via existing transmission lines adjacent to the Woodfibre site, according to BC Hydro’s Lesley Wood.

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Two of the temporary solutions involve putting more power through the 138kv transmission line that runs from the Malaspina Substation, halfway up Vancouver Island, down the south of the Island then across and up to the Cheekye Substation north of Brackendale. 

“[One solution] would involve small upgrades like raising some of the wood poles and replacing them with slightly taller wood poles at certain locations, or tightening the conductors, that sort of thing,” Wood said. 

Staff is currently working out where those changes would need to be made. 

The other temporary fix would involve operating the 138kv line at a higher voltage, 230kv.

“It is actually set up to do that, it is just that we are operating at the lower voltage,” said Wood. The changes in that case are just changes to existing substations. 

The temporary solutions would need to be in place by March 2017, according to Wood.

Permanent alternative solutions are what would be implemented for a redundant power supply to Woodfibre LNG. 

“That means they are being fed by more than one line, so if one line goes down they are still receiving power,” Wood said.

There are two permanent solutions that involve a 500kv transmission line that runs from the Malaspina Substation almost straight across to the mainland and runs just north of the Woodfibre site. 

One permanent solution is to loop that line into the Woodfibre site and bring it out again. That would be a couple of hundred metres of new line going across Woodfibre’s proposed site, combined with one of the temporary solutions. 

The other permanent solution involves leaving the 500kv alone and doing further work on the 138kv line to convert it to a 230kv south of Woodfibre and interconnect to a brand new substation BC Hydro already owns in the Port Mellon area.

“We are looking to use our existing facilities to carry out this project,” Wood said.

“Right now we are doing desktop studies on environment and archeology for the alternatives. We are looking at the types of work that are going to be needed and where those types of work are going to be needed.” 

Wood said public consultation on the project will likely begin towards the end of February or early March.

Woodfibre officials have said running the potential plant off electricity instead of the direct-drive natural gas turbines will reduce potential greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 80 per cent.

The proposed Woodfibre LNG export and processing facility project is currently in the Environmental Assessment Office 180-day review period.

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