Undersea cable pitched for clean energy

A company known mostly for wind projects is reviving a proposal to connect the Vancouver Island and Washington electricity grids

Wind farm development in northeastern B.C. Proponents of a new power line between Vancouver Island and Washington say it would make wind power a more stable source.

Wind farm development in northeastern B.C. Proponents of a new power line between Vancouver Island and Washington say it would make wind power a more stable source.

VICTORIA – With BC Hydro struggling to control electricity rate increases and cutting back on private power acquisition, a company known mostly for wind projects is reviving a proposal to connect the Vancouver Island and Washington electricity grids.

Sea Breeze Power Corp. wants to build a 50 km transmission cable under the Strait of Juan de Fuca to connect substations near Port Angeles and Victoria. To finance the project, it’s looking for a 10-year deal to assemble surplus U.S. power and sell it to BC Hydro at a flat rate of $69 per megawatt hour.

Sea Breeze CEO Paul Manson said the power purchase would finance the construction of the cable and deliver a steady source of electricity to B.C. at lower cost than new sources built in the province. It would also improve power quality and reliability for Vancouver Island residents, he said.

First proposed in 2006, the project has received environmental permits from both sides of the border. It was rejected by the B.C. Utilities Commission, which approved upgrading the existing power line from the B.C. mainland to Vancouver Island instead.

Sea Breeze developed a wind project at Cape Scott on northern Vancouver Island, and has plans and permits for other wind sites on the B.C. coast and the Peace River region. Manson said the Juan de Fuca cable would stabilize wind power supply on the B.C. coast, where wind speeds peak in winter, with inland Washington sites where it’s windiest in summer.

Manson said U.S. policy led to major wind development that leaves the the Pacific Northwest with an excess of power in spring, meaning the Washington power utility has paid BC Hydro to take its excess when hydro dams are full.

The cable would also give B.C. more capacity to buy cheap overnight coal and nuclear power from the U.S., which BC Hydro already does with its main connecting line along Interstate 5, he said.

Energy Minister Bill Bennett said the Juan de Fuca cable is one of many proposals that came forward as BC Hydro developed its integrated resource plan. That plan estimates that with conservation and efficiency improvements in B.C., the province will need more electricity supplies within eight years.

The company has not yet demonstrated that it can assemble the firm electricity it proposes to sell, and the project has “a pretty steep slope to climb,” Bennett said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From right: Brad Cameron, BCEHS superintendent of patient care delivery for Greater Victoria, with primary care paramedics Em Funk, Tyrone Trotter, Fiona Galvin and Peter Hill at the Leigh Road station. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore paramedics didn’t waver when faced with COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Emergency Health Services personnel are this year’s Courage and Bravery Award recipients

February is Black History Month. (Photo: Government of Canada)
Camosun College highlighting Black content with research guide during Black History Month

The collection includes a range of works by Black authors and creators

Amy Morrison was surprised to find a note on her windshield for parking on a public street with no restrictions in south Oak Bay where she works. (Amy Morrison Photo)
Oak Bay resident uses notes to claim street parking

‘You must have noticed, we park in front of OUR HOUSE,’ note writer says

Debra Sheets, a University of Victoria nursing professor, is starting Victoria’s first Memory Cafe program for adults with dementia and their caregivers. (Photo: Debra Sheets)
Memory Cafe Victoria hopes to connect local dementia community

Adults with dementia and their caregivers will participate in weekly Zoom socializing and activities

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Most Read