Public showing interest in Emera transmission line

Frank Gale
Published on February 1, 2013
Stacey Pineau, left, of Emera Newfoundland and Labrador, chats with Muriel Chislett of Stephenville about the proposed Emera transmission line project at an information session in St. George’s on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013.
Frank Gale

ST. GEORGE’S — Muriel Chislett of Stephenville is not sure yet if land she owns near McKays in Bay St. George South will be affected by the Emera transmission line.

Folks with Emera Newfoundland and Labrador, however, promised they would get the answer to that question for Chislett, who inherited the 80 acres of land from her father.

Chislett was one of a number of people to attend an information session held by Emera at the Siki Bennett Memorial Recreation Complex in St. George’s on Thursday afternoon.

At the session, company officials explained a planned Maritime Link and overland transmission line to carry power from Granite Canal in the interior of the province to subsea cables from Cape Ray in Newfoundland. The power will then be carried to Point Aconi Generating Station in Cape Breton, N.S.

The power will actually originate from Muskrat Falls in Labrador, when that project is complete, and Nalcor will be responsible for transferring it from that location to Granite Canal Hydro Station.

Besides wanting to learn if the transmission line would cross her land, Chislett said she wanted to see what the project was all about because there is a lot to understand.

Ken Meade, director of environmental and aboriginal affairs with Emera, said the company is currently going through a five-week public review of their environmental assessment process. The company expects to hear the outcome by this spring, and Meade believes the project will get the green light.

Meade explained that the environmental assessment is a public process and the company believes it’s important for the public to come in and talk about what’s planned.

For the least amount of environmental impact, most of the overland transmission will follow along an existing line.

In addition to a steady stream of visitors to the session in St. George’s, an information session held in Cape Ray earlier in the week had about 35 people drop by. Stacey Pineau, communications advisor for Emera, said most were interested in exactly what to expect when this transmission line comes to their community, and what it will look like.

Pineau said the timeline moving forward would hopefully see construction taking place from 2014 until project completion in late 2016, with first power in 2017.

A proposed grounding site, which is part of a high-voltage direct current system, is to be located at a site yet to be determined in the lower end of St. George’s Bay. There will also be a sub-station located near the current Hydro sub-station in the Bottom Brook area.

The submission of an environmental assessment took place on Jan. 17 and, from that date to Feb. 21 this year, there are aboriginal and public reviews, followed by the minister’s review and decision in the spring.

Pineau said work on the environmental assessment has been ongoing for the past two years and will soon be submitted to regulators in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and the Federal Government.