Undersea cable pitched for clean energy

A company known mostly for wind projects is reviving a proposal to connect the Vancouver Island and Washington electricity grids

Wind farm development in northeastern B.C. Proponents of a new power line between Vancouver Island and Washington say it would make wind power a more stable source.

VICTORIA – With BC Hydro struggling to control electricity rate increases and cutting back on private power acquisition, a company known mostly for wind projects is reviving a proposal to connect the Vancouver Island and Washington electricity grids.

Sea Breeze Power Corp. wants to build a 50 km transmission cable under the Strait of Juan de Fuca to connect substations near Port Angeles and Victoria. To finance the project, it’s looking for a 10-year deal to assemble surplus U.S. power and sell it to BC Hydro at a flat rate of $69 per megawatt hour.

Sea Breeze CEO Paul Manson said the power purchase would finance the construction of the cable and deliver a steady source of electricity to B.C. at lower cost than new sources built in the province. It would also improve power quality and reliability for Vancouver Island residents, he said.

First proposed in 2006, the project has received environmental permits from both sides of the border. It was rejected by the B.C. Utilities Commission, which approved upgrading the existing power line from the B.C. mainland to Vancouver Island instead.

Sea Breeze developed a wind project at Cape Scott on northern Vancouver Island, and has plans and permits for other wind sites on the B.C. coast and the Peace River region. Manson said the Juan de Fuca cable would stabilize wind power supply on the B.C. coast, where wind speeds peak in winter, with inland Washington sites where it’s windiest in summer.

Manson said U.S. policy led to major wind development that leaves the the Pacific Northwest with an excess of power in spring, meaning the Washington power utility has paid BC Hydro to take its excess when hydro dams are full.

The cable would also give B.C. more capacity to buy cheap overnight coal and nuclear power from the U.S., which BC Hydro already does with its main connecting line along Interstate 5, he said.

Energy Minister Bill Bennett said the Juan de Fuca cable is one of many proposals that came forward as BC Hydro developed its integrated resource plan. That plan estimates that with conservation and efficiency improvements in B.C., the province will need more electricity supplies within eight years.

The company has not yet demonstrated that it can assemble the firm electricity it proposes to sell, and the project has “a pretty steep slope to climb,” Bennett said.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Passengers bound for Victoria say Sunwing left them stranded in Abbotsford

Company says late arrival led to difficulties securing accommodation, transportation

Island-filmed TV series gets third season

Crews returning to Parksville Qualicum Beach to film in the spring

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

Sutherland steps down as SOS executive director

From receptionist to executive director

Views in The NEWS, Jan. 16

We asked: What is a necessity for you on a camping trip?

Did you get Hitched in Courtenay on Sunday?

The first annual wedding show saw big crowds and included two fashion shows

Premier offers condolences to family of boy, 15, killed in Vancouver crossfire

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag for Canada at 2018 Olympics

The pair earned a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

Corfield Street work continues in Parksville

Delays, alternating traffic can be expected

Most Read