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

Bella Coola grateful for help from Canadian Animal Assistance Team

Over two hundred animals received assistance from the team

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

Carey Price brings young fan to tears after surprising him at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

VIDEO: Clip of driver speeding past B.C. school bus alarms MLA

Laurie Throness of Chilliwack-Kent says he will lobby for better safety measures

Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

Olympic skier from B.C. suing Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

B.C. senior’s car vandalized for more than 18 months

Retired RCMP officer determined to catch ‘tagger.’

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Man charged in crash that killed B.C. pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services

The plan, called A Pathway to Hope, focuses on early-intervention services that are seeing high demand

Most Read