Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/10/2007 (3551 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I am presently retired, but I have worked on the planning and design of transmission lines for almost 40 years, 10 years for a consultant and the federal government on the first two DC transmission lines built in the 1960s, and then 30 years for Manitoba Hydro on various other transmission lines, including maintenance and repair of the first two lines.
I would like to make the following points regarding the chosen western route:
1. The 400 million dollar premium for the western route is an exorbitant price to pay for dubious benefits, which may or may not be realized. This amount is about $400 for every person in the province. It is also about double the cost of the huge new Hydro office tower presently being constructed downtown.
2. In addition to this extra initial capital cost, there will be electrical line losses due to the added length (at least 50 per cent more) and these losses will be in perpetuity. In terms of the Power Smart Program, which Hydro has been promoting, this seems to be the exact opposite. It will take a lot of "energy star" fridges, freezers, washers and dryers to make up for these power losses.
3. The extra 300 kilometres to 400 kilometres of line on the west side will also result in increased surveillance and maintenance costs. These costs are not trivial.
4. The extra line length on the west side would make it statistically more susceptible to extreme localized weather events -- tornados, downdrafts, icing, etc.
5. The western route, as it meanders through the province almost to the Saskatchewan border and back again, will also pass through "pristine boreal forest" in its northern reaches. During my Hydro days, I have flown over innumerable transmission line rights of way throughout the province, and to me the northern boreal forests on the east and west sides are indistinguishable. In fact, most of our province is a boreal forest.
6. In my opinion, a cleared right of way has very little effect on the environment, visually and physically. By way of illustration, a 75 metre right of way, on a standard provincial map of Manitoba, can't be drawn with a pencil line thin enough to represent its actual width.
7. To me, it seems wrong to penalize the million or so people living in the southern part of Manitoba for the sake of one boreal forest (of many), which very few will ever visit and where very few people live, less than two per cent of the population.
8. The western route would impact many, many more of our citizens, since a large portion of it will have to go through populated and agricultural areas.
I really hope that common sense prevails, instead of one person's desire for 15 minutes of fame in a UN brochure.