Hydro completes initial round of community consultations on new transmission line

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro) met with key stakeholders and community residents this month who live near the proposed route of the new transmission line which will run from Bay d’Espoir to the western Avalon Peninsula, near Chapel Arm.

As part of the environmental assessment, the project team held a series of meetings and community open houses to share information and to receive feedback from residents and stakeholders.

“Public input is so important to the work we do and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to meet with the team,” said Rob Henderson, Vice President, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.  “It was very much a two-way, open discussion and the start of an ongoing relationship with these communities. Listening to stakeholder input first-hand, and understanding the local perspective helps us better shape and improve the project.”

Feedback from the recent public consultation sessions will be included in the environmental assessment registration document to be submitted to the Department of Environment and Conservation (DOEC) in July under the provincial Environmental Protection Act (EPA). Regulators and the public will also have an opportunity to review and provide feedback on this document.

The environmental assessment is a planning process meant to identify the potential environment and socio-economic effects of proposed projects and helps inform planning and decision making.

Henderson reinforced the value of community input. “Hydro is committed to full and open consultation and to ensuring that all our operations and capital projects are carried out in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Knowledge gained will be reflected in our planning as we move forward.”

This process marks the first phase of a new 230 kV transmission line designed to strengthen the provincial electricity grid. The proposed route parallels two existing transmission lines between the Bay d’Espoir Generating Station and the Western Avalon Terminal Station. This avoids the creation of a new access corridor, reduces the environmental footprint, and minimizes the overall  impact to communities.

The upgrade of this corridor will provide additional capacity into the Avalon Peninsula, relieve congestion, enhance the resiliency of the current transmission network originally built in the late 1960s, and reinforce the interconnection of the system with Labrador.

Construction on the new line will not start until public consultation and environmental processes have been finalized, public feedback has been considered, and all regulatory approvals are in place.

The project is presently anticipated to cost about $291.7 million and is scheduled to be in service in 2018.

Questions, feedback or comments on the planned route can continue to be addressed to hydro@nlh.nl.ca or by calling 1.888.576.5454. Information will also be updated on www.nlhydro.com as the project progresses.