Completion of the biggest transmission line project in Ontario in 20 years clears an important hurdle for a series of massive wind turbine projects in Southwestern Ontario, including eight within 70 kilometres of London.
Completed six months ahead of schedule, the $700-million Bruce to Milton transmission project will allow electricity to flow from refurbished reactors at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, and from wind and solar projects that have received conditional contracts under Ontario’s green energy program.
The lines will be able to carry 3,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power – according to Ontario government calculations – London, Milton, Guelph, Mississauga, Chatham, Brampton, Hamilton and St. Catharines combined.
About half the power carried will be from the nuclear reactors, Energy Minister Chris Bentley said Tuesday.
“The line will bring clean, green energy to 1.5 million homes. That is about 10 major Southwestern Ontario communities,” Bentley said.
The increased transmission capacity will also improve the reliability of the system, he said.
Units 1 and 2 at Bruce Nuclear were shut down in the 1990s. Work on refurbishing the reactors started in 2006 with their return to commercial service scheduled for this year. Both units can produce 750 megawatts.
Bentley said the new transmission lines were needed to carry the additional power from the nuclear units and the wind and solar projects.
Construction of the transmission system started in 2010 and involved stringing 180 kilometres of line over 700 transmission towers. It runs from the Bruce Power complex in Kincardine to Hydro One’s switching station in Milton.
Though the new transmission capacity will allow 25 wind and solar projects to be hooked up to the system, companies will still have to win approval under Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) process, Bentley said.
“Nobody gets switched on or connected up before they go through the REA process.”
The wind turbine projects that will be connected with the additional transmission capacity include ones in Chatham-Kent and Middlesex, Lambton and Oxford counties and will add hundreds of turbines to the rural landscape.
Solar projects that will be hooked up are in Middlesex and Elgin counties.
The new transmission lines will carry power from wind farms in the London area, including:
Jericho Wind Energy Centre near Thedford
Bornish Wind Energy Centre in North Middlesex and Adelaide-Metcalfe
Goshen Wind Energy Centre and Grand Bend Wind Farm in Huron County
Cedar Point Wind Power Project near Forest
Adelaide Wind Power Project near Strathroy
Adelaide Wind Energy Centre near Kerwood
Gunn’s Hill Windfarm near Woodstock
Bluewater Wind Energy Centre near Zurich
St. Columban Wind Energy Project near Seaforth
Erieau Wind in Chatham-Kent
East Lake St. Clair Wind near Wallaceburg
Solar projects that will be hooked up include four near Strathroy, one near Aylmer and one near Thorndale.
Previously published as “New lines allow wind projects to plug in” ]
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