New transmission line approved – more wind projects to come
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
The Ontario Energy Board has approved Hydro One’s plan to spend $40 million upgrading a transmission line through Lambton County. The project is designed to enable about 500 MW of renewable power generation west of London by installing higher capacity wire and new insulators on existing towers, between the Lambton Transfer Station in St. Clair Township and the Longwood station near London.
In a ruling dated Nov. 8, the board says it finds “the proposed project to be in the public interest.” The project will have “a small impact” on transmission rates, adding 0.01% to the average residential consumer bill, the board says.
“The company does now have the approvals necessary to proceed with the project,” said Hydro One spokesperson Nancy Shaddick. She added construction is scheduled to begin in the spring and the updated line should be in service by the end of 2014.
“Anything like that is a positive thing,” said St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold. “We need to make sure we keep things as modern as we can so we continue to be the energy producer of the province down in Lambton County.”
The board’s approval came over objections by the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and the Haudenosunee Development Institute at Six Nations. Chief Joe Miskokomon, of the Chippewas of the Thames, said recent courting rulings have required industry to “consult with First Nations and accommodate their concerns” in these types of projects. “This is not a new issue being raised by us,” he said. “It’s an issue that has been raised across this country, in many different locations.”
Miskokomon said it was too soon to say what action the First Nation might take in response to the board’s ruling.
The First Nation argued it wasn’t adequately consulted about the project, and raised other concerns about the line it says crosses traditional Chippewa territory.
“This is not a short-haul issue,” Miskokomon said.
“It’s one that has to be raised and has to be continually pressed.”