Work crews are currently improving access roads, clearing the lineÂ’s right-of-way and installing tower foundations. During its three years of construction, the project is expected to create economic opportunities for local vendors and suppliers and generate about 540 person-years of employment.
The project is expected to expand the capacity of BC HydroÂ’s transmission system that delivers power from BC HydroÂ’s generating facilities in the North and Southern Interior to communities in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island Â– currently totaling 1.4 million industrial, commercial and residential customers.
This transmission system was built in the mid-1970s and needs to be upgraded to meet future demand for power due to B.C.
Â’s growing population and economy Â– particularly during winter months when electricity use peaks. In addition, the project is expected to also improve the capacity and stability of the provinceÂ’s overall transmission system.
FAST FACTS: The Interior to Lower Mainland project includes construction of a new 247-kilometre, 500-kilovolt transmission line between the Nicola Substation near Merritt and the Meridian Substation in Coquitlam, a new series capacitor station at Ruby Creek on BC Hydro property, and improvements to the Nicola and Meridian substations.
The new transmission line will parallel an existing 500-kilovolt transmission line for the majority of the route along mostly existing right-of-way. When the existing line was constructed in the 1970s, additional right-of-way was acquired at that time in anticipation of future demand.
BC Hydro retained Flatiron-Graham to design and build the new transmission line. ABB will design and construct the new series capacitor station at Ruby Creek and BC Hydro will manage work required at Nicola and Meridian substations as part of the overall project.
The project is providing opportunities for local aboriginal and non-aboriginal vendors and suppliers for goods and services, such as right-of-way clearing, access road development, truck drivers and equipment operators, flag people, archaeology and heritage monitoring, environmental monitoring, right-of-way restoration, accommodation and meals.
By ensuring the most efficient transfer of electricity, the Interior to Lower Mainland line is expected to reduce the amount of energy that otherwise would be lost on the transmission system Â– enough energy to supply about 80,000 homes per year.
The estimated project cost is $709 million. The planned in-service date is January 2015.