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

Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge construction could start in 2021, MLA says

The project is expected to cost substantially more than budgeted in 2017

EDITORIAL: Post-grad years are your time

Editor Grace Kennedy shares a few words for this year’s high school grads

COLUMN: Llamas, goats and snakes, oh my!

Making friends on the Ryder Lake Ramble not a walk in the park

PHOTOS: Sasquatch Days about ‘being proud of being Sts’ailes’

The joint event between Harrison and Sts’ailes returned to the village for its eighth year

‘This was my baby’: Music teacher to retire after 29 years at Kent Elementary

Brenda Di Rezze will be saying goodbye to her music room at the end of this school year

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

BC Ferries adds extra and late night summer sailings

Seasonal adjustments to sailing times also in effect on many routes

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

Parents of B.C. murder victim want her personal belongings back

Lisa Dudley’s parents, Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Most Read