Harris McNamara, the health and safety director of Emera Inc., speaks Thursday to the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association conference at the Sheraton Hotel.
— Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram
As the Maritime Link heads to a regulatory review in Nova Scotia — public hearings are set to begin at the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) on May 27 — the details of the project are being disseminated to businesses in this province.
The health and safety director for Emera Inc., Harris McNamara, was at the Sheraton Hotel in St. John’s Thursday to speak about the Maritime Link with members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association, during its annual health and safety conference.
In a formal presentation, he said much of the talk around the Lower Churchill project has, to date, revolved around the dam and powerhouse infrastructure to be built at Muskrat Falls on the Churchill River.
“But over half of that (Lower Churchill) project actually involves the transmission of that electricity to market,” he said.
That includes transmission infrastructure for the Labrador-Island Link — the line down the Northern Peninsula and across the island — and the Maritime Link connecting the island to Nova Scotia.
The link itself includes direct current converter stations with subsea cables and high voltage direct current (HVDC) lines connecting the substations.
“Each cable is, if you think of a two-litre pop bottle, that’s about the size of one of the cables,” McNamara said.
It has been designed to carry 500 megawatts of power between the provinces.
It includes lines from the inter-provincial connection to the island and, on the other side, Nova Scotia systems — from Bottom Brook to Cape Ray and Point Aconi to Woodbine.
“In Nova Scotia, project planners have chosen the 345-kilovolt Woodbine substation as the interconnection site at the receiving end, because Woodbine is a major hub for power generation in Cape Breton, and can handle 500 megawatts of incoming power for delivery to load centres throughout Nova Scotia,” states the Jan. 28 submission on the project to the UARB.
“The station must be expanded to accommodate the interconnection of the AC/DC converters, and to provide increased capacity to transfer power from the 345-kV system to the 230-kV system of Nova Scotia Power.”
According to the submission to the UARB, the Maritime Link includes technologies new to Nova Scotia, including the AC/DC converter stations and the subsea cable.
Yet McNamara told his audience, echoing previous statements out of Nalcor Energy, all of the new technology is proven technology, being used in other parts of the world.
After speaking briefly on procurement, McNamara said safety will be top priority for all of the required construction.
“There is nothing more important than safety and our project will not be considered a success if a serious incident occurs,” he said.
“I know from my experience with Nova Scotia Power, the co-operation of labour is essential.”