REPORTING · 12th December 2010
North Coast Power Corp has been given the go ahead by BC’s Integrated Land Management Bureau to investigate the Iskut River Valley for a grid interconnection to Alaska. The Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) is presently planned to extend to Bob Quinn Lake. North Coast Power will be investigating the route to join this new grid with a connection to the present grid in SE Alaska at Tyee Lake, which currently connects the communities of Petersburg, Wrangell and more recently, Ketchikan and now Metlakatla with a submarine cable.
This past fall 60 construction accommodation trailers were moved into a location just west of Bob Quinn. These were barged into Stewart and during a short period of only five days a convoy of trucks moved these trailers east and north into position in the Iskut River Valley. These homes will be for the crews working on the Forest Kerr Hydro Electric project being constructed by Alta Gas. The 195 Mega Watt plant is expected to be completed by 2014. This project was originally investigated by North Coast Power Corp before the; Galore Creek, Nova Gold and Tech Cominco consortium, which subsequently sold the project to Alta Gas.
BC Hydro plans to see the construction of the NTL, a 287 KV transmission line, begin this coming spring. The environmental assessment of the project was temporarily suspended early last week for the federal government to catch up with their reviews. The suspension is planned to be lifted in early January and the project will proceed. The current estimate is having the NTL and new substation at Bob Quinn completed by December 2013, just in time to accept the new power being generated by Alta Gas.
Alaska also has significant design considerations in the works. The construction of new grid systems; north to Juneau and Skagway and west across Clarence Straight to Hydeburg are also in the planning stages. Alaska has excess hydroelectric potential along with significant geo thermal and wind energy. They look forward to a grid intertie with British Columbia for both sales of power to BC and to ‘wheel’ the power to the southern states.
North Coast power has been granted the exploration rights for the design considerations to join these two international grid networks. Their permit grants them two years to conduct this work and stipulates no changes can be made to the land and water while they conduct their surveys and that this right, to investigate the route, is not exclusive.
All this activity along with the substantial commitment of money, both private and government, indicates the rewards to the local economies in the region will be significant in both the short and long term.
BC Hydros map of the current electrical grid with the future intentions for expansion
A detailed representation of the interconnection area. Note; the lower right point on this map shows "Tyee Lake"; the point where the BC Grid would connect with the SE Alaska grid. Map by Hatch Acres
A larger overall map of part of the Grid in SE Alaska showing the vast number of communities, power lines and generation facilities
Artists Conceptual drawing of the Forest Kerr Hydro Electric Project
Prospering the North!
Comment by Craigcan on 18th December 2010
Skagway Alaska's Goat Lake Hydro is only 80 km (50 miles) from Carcross Yukon's southernmost power line. This power line interconnects with Yukon's main transmission line. Interconnecting the Alaska Panhandle with Yukon can provide a link between BC and Yukon. Certainly a direct link between BC and Yukon will happen as well.
Dawson Yukon is only 480 km (300 miles) by road from Delta Alaska. Central Alaska is proposing to construct a major hydro project - Susitna Hydro. Great opportunities in tying the north together!
Comment by Bryan Notheisz on 12th December 2010
Thanks Merv for posting this interesting item. I think that a part of our future prosperity is in making connections with our neighbours. Another future possiblity is a rail link to Alaska, not sure if you are aware of this possibility, but it is an interesting idea. Here is a link to a 2007 study. http://www.economicdevelopment.gov.yk.ca/pdf/executive_report.pdf
Comment by Adam Kirkwood on 12th December 2010
I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it...
I especially love how the center of BC Hydro's map has little 'ol Terrace right in the middle of it all...
Up with optimism!!!!