Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bipole III will cost $1B more, says Hydro's latest estimate

  • Print

BIPOLE III will now cost about $1 billion more than originally believed, according to a new estimate released by Manitoba Hydro Thursday.

Hydro president and CEO Bob Brennan said the new estimate is now $3.28 billion, up from the original estimate of $2.24 billion.

The estimated cost has a number of contingencies built in, Brennan said, to account for unforeseen circumstances that could affect the cost during construction. The high-voltage line is to be built by October 2017.

"Once we get a contract out, we'll see how good we are," he said.

Brennan said the new estimate should put to rest, to some extent, the political debate surrounding the project in the past few months and concerns about the project's rising cost, partly due to documents leaked from Manitoba Hydro to the Opposition Progressive Conservatives.

Since last October, the cost of Bipole III has been estimated as high as $4.1 billion and a more recent estimate of $3.9 billion.

"Manitoba Hydro does not like all these crazy numbers floating around," Brennan said. "We're not happy about that at all. It's just not good for us."

He said the revised estimate is based on independent experts' review and a detailed internal reassessment of the project.

Driving up the estimate are higher costs for two converter stations, the wires themselves and design changes required to meet new reliability standards. Hydroelectric power is converted from alternating current (AC) to high-voltage direct current (DC) for transmission, then back to AC for consumer use. The equipment for the conversions, to be built at either end of the line, would be needed whether Bipole III is routed west of Lake Manitoba, as now planned, or east of Lake Winnipeg.

Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen has said if elected premier, he would cancel the 1,384-kilometre western route and build the line down the shorter, less expensive eastern route.

McFadyen said Thursday he expects the cost of Bipole III to rise even more, as he's now heard four different estimates for the project.

"It's a big number, no matter how you look at it," he said. "We know from past projects that every time Hydro sets a number for those projects, it comes in over budget. We don't expect Bipole to be any different."

The new estimate for Bipole was to be released publicly later this spring, but Brennan said an effort was made to get the work done sooner to clarify the issue in light of leaked Hydro documents.

He downplayed a suggestion Hydro sped up the process in advance of the new legislative session April 12. Premier Greg Selinger and Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk have been under attack by the Conservatives on Bipole III's cost and route. Brennan has said for several months the cost of Bipole III is expected to rise because of the rising expense of converter equipment at either end of the line.

The line will include two new 2,000-megawatt high-voltage, direct-current converter stations -- Riel near Winnipeg and Keewatinoow near Gillam.

The new line allows Manitoba Hydro to build the Keeyask and Conawapa generating stations, adding 2,000 megawatts of additional power generation capacity. That allows Hydro to export more electricity to the United States.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 1, 2011 A3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Best of Jets sound bites following Saturday's 2-1 loss to Ducks

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • horse in sunset - marc gallant

View More Gallery Photos


Do you think the Jets will win Game 4 on Wednesday?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google