Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/8/2011 (2144 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Delay of a 500-kilovolt interconnection to Wisconsin and the far west-side route for Bipole III will compromise the reliability of the Manitoba Hydro electricity system.
Recent Public Utility Board (June 2011) testimony by Hydro staff has revealed that a proposed 500-KV interconnection will be delayed until Wisconsin needs the originally proposed sale of 500 MW.
In place of the new interconnection, existing interconnections will be used to transfer the recently signed 100-MW sale in the years 2021 up to 2028.
Hydro has also indicated that a smaller line may be required for the other recent sale of 250 MW to Minnesota starting in 2020.
What do these decisions mean for the reliability of the Manitoba system? For an answer, we need to consider a route for the new Bipole III on either the east side of Lake Winnipeg or on the far west side of the province near the Saskatchewan border.
First, a reliable, efficient Bipole III becomes very important as it is the lifeline if Bipoles I and II are lost to extreme weather events like those in 1996.
Which of the two possible routes for Bipole III will best provide the delivery of power to the Hydro system in southern Manitoba?
The clear technical answer is the east-side route.
It will permit the transfer of 3,000 MW, whereas the far-west route will only transfer 2,000 MW.
That is, the east-side route provides 50 per cent (1,000 MW) more to serve the needs of Manitobans if the present lines go down.
When we consider the loss of revenue to the entire province, as well as the Hydro figure of $160 million cost of replacement power, this added reliability can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
When and if a 500-KV line from Wisconsin is built, it will add to the import capability by 750 MW of capacity, but the east-side route will always be able to transfer 1,000 MW more capacity than a west-side route.
(All figures in this article are from PUB transcripts.)
What is the best route for Bipole III? Clearly it should be on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, not west of Lake Manitoba.
Art Derry is a retired vice-president of Manitoba Hydro