Workers string power cables along the Northwest Transmission Line.

Powering up the Northwest

BC Hydro is putting the finishing touches on a project that will ensure there is plenty of power available.

With major mining projects proposed north of Stewart along Hwy 37, BC Hydro is putting the finishing touches on a project that will ensure there is plenty of power available.

The Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) is a $746 million undertaking that will run a 287-kilovolt transmission line between the Skeena Substation near Terrace and a new substation near Bob Quinn Lake. The NTL mirrors the existing hydro line along the Nisga’a Highway, but then runs along the opposite side of the highway and north past the existing Meziadin Substation. Being installed for the 287-kilovolt line are 1,100 towers to carry 2,100 kilometres of conductor wire to both provide electricity to projects in the north and to feed power generated by hydro-electric projects into the provincial grid.

Valard president Adam Budzinski described the project as one of the more challenging the Edmonton-based company has undertaken.

“It’s not really one project, it’s three or four,” said Budzinski of work going on simultaneously along the line’s route.

When the NTL is complete, anticipated to be this summer, it is expected to facilitate the creation of 4,000 direct and indirect jobs associated with mining development and could create as many as 12,000 direct and indirect jobs within the next decade.