Nalcor submits impact statement for transmission line

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Cabins, provincial parks, water supplies within suggested power corridor

Nalcor Transmission line map

The damming of the Lower Churchill has been released from environmental assessment. However, assessment of the Labrador-Island Link — including the transmission line for Lower Churchill power — is ongoing.

Nalcor Energy filed an environmental impact statement Monday, providing new detail on the proposed line and link.

The document is available on the Nalcor website.

The Telegram was able to go through the 114-page executive summary prior to deadline.

The project is a pan-provincial, connecting the island to mainland Canada and creating 1,100 kilometres of 350-kilovolt high voltage, direct current (HVdc) line from Central Labrador to the Avalon Peninsula.

The total construction cost is estimated at $2.1 billion.

The project will require: the HVdc line, two converter stations (at Muskrat Falls and Soldiers Pond), a transition building at Forteau Point (50 metres by 50 metres and up to 16 metres high), underwater cable from Forteau to Shoal Cove, a transition building at Shoal Cove, shoreline electrodes at L’Anse au Diable and Dowden’s Point (to provide a return path for a small amount of current generated by voltage imbalances) and select upgrades to the island’s existing power system.

There will be as much as 34 kilometres of five-metre-wide access roads created, with four-metre-wide access trails, culverts and/or bridges added as needed. 

Nalcor is planning 11 temporary work camps, each to occupy 1.82 hectares with: a bunkhouse for 150 workers, a kitchen, dining hall, recreation area, first aid station, helicopter pad, water treatment facility and waste water treatment system.

There will be 10 assembly yards (each to contain about 20,000 litres of stored fuel), five marshal-

ling yards (five hectares each) and additional staging areas for storage.

Local gravel and concrete will be used for access routes and tower foundations.

“Vegetation will be controlled through a combination of herbicide application and manual cutting.”

In its impact statement, Nalcor noted provincial flora and fauna potentially affected. It highlights certain species like woodland caribou — committing to protecting and supporting the populations.

The submission states expected effects on the environment, potential accidents and malfunctions during construction, aboriginal consultation to date and “previous and ongoing activities” by people in the affected areas — about 88 per cent of which will be uninhabited Crown land.

“The project is being planned by Nalcor in a manner that considers environmentally sensitive areas of the province and has avoided these areas to the extent practical,” the company states.

Yet, the two-kilometre-wide corridor studied for the line route does overlap with private and public holdings, potentially affecting more than 600 cabin owners, as well as towns, businesses, trail users and provincial parkgoers.

The “corridor” study area will eventually be narrowed to a 60-metre right-of-way wherein the lines will actually go.

Notably, Nalcor’s submission does not state Gros Morne National Park will be affected.

Engineering design and construction for the line and link is expected to take about five years. Construction will provide an estimated 3,070 person-years of employment.

Once the link and line is in operation, Nalcor has stated, about 30 new full-time employees will be needed to keep it in working order.

Geographic location: Canada, Central Labrador, Shoal Cove Gros Morne National Park

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Recent comments

  • Maurice E. Adams
    April 10, 2012 - 11:54

    With cost overruns Muskrat Falls will drive our provincial debt close to 20 BILLION dollars and cost us hundreds of millions in debt service payments for decades ---- and for what? ------ We can't and don't even use the power we have now. ------ About 1/4 of our existing installed NET capacity is UNUSED every year, down 12% over the last 12 years. +++++++ Vale's Long Harbour plant represents LESS THAN 4.5 % of our EXISTING capacity ---- about 16% of our existing installed (UNUSED) net capacity.. -------- We are building generation capacity that WE HAVE NO NEED FOR. ++++ If he mining companies in Labrador have a need --- sometime in the future for more power ---- let them build it ---- not the ratepayers/taxpayers of the island.

  • John Smith
    April 10, 2012 - 11:18

    Well, Steve...tell the people who live next door to the fifth largest polluter in Canada, Duffs, if carbon is not worth a whit. They have to wipe carbon off their houses and cars everyday, let alone what their kids breath in...

  • Robb
    April 10, 2012 - 11:13

    Hey John Smith.......could not have said it better...anyone opposed to this is absolutely a liberal or ndp....plain and simple.....and that 's what all these naysayers are, simple. If they think that dirty oil is going to get any cheaper, they should wake up and look around, maybe pick up a hobby. There is only so much oil on the planet.........when it runs out, and it certainly will run out, what are these naysayers going to do then..??...all these scare tactics are just sickening.......all they need to do is whisper in someone's ear the the price of electricity will rise sharply, or that the cost of the project will spiral out of control, and they have done their jobs as disappearing liberals. The only problem any liberal or ndp have with this project is that it is not them who are doing it.....well, too bad, we can't wait for you to get your act it, and they will come....

  • Steve Kramer
    April 10, 2012 - 10:36

    The notion of carbon (dioxide) making a whit of difference to our climate is junk science that will soon be relegated to the ranks of the flat-earthers. That said, there are still plenty of reasons to embrace renewables like wind, hydro, and solar. They are clean, they don't rely on foreign imports. Even gas, with current prices so low and supplies abundant, has a place in the energy mix. We need it all, and better it should at least come from our hemisphere!

  • John Smith
    April 10, 2012 - 07:59

    So, do we want to stay tied to oil, and an isolated island system, paying billions to middle east oil producers? or do we want to build our very own electrical generation? Clean, non carbon producing, stabalizing rates, connection to the mainland, which will allow for wind and other alternatives, last forever? I just cannot understand why everyone can't see that this is the logical choice for our future? The whole discussion about gas is a joke, wind is out, what's left?

    • David
      April 10, 2012 - 10:15

      Well, if you put it like that, I say we take every dime of Hibernia money, go to Vegas, and put it all on 27 Black. It has just as much desparation and objective, informed analysis behind it.