OTTAWA — The federal government has announced its approval of the National Energy Board (NEB) decision to issue a certificate for the ITC Lake Erie Connector Project, a build that will include construction of a 117-kilometre underwater transmission line across Lake Erie.
The two-way, 1,000-megawatt, 320-kilovolt, high-voltage direct electric transmission line will transfer electricity between new HVDC converter stations located in Erie County, Pa. and Nanticoke, Ont. The project will include construction of facilities to transfer electricity from Nanticoke via a 500 kilovolt AC line to the Independent Electricity System Operator market in Ontario and to markets in the U.S. mid-Atlantic and Midwest from the Erie County station.
The federal approval is subject to 42 binding conditions and follows an NEB decision reached in January. The federal government decision was issued June 23.
The $544-million Canadian portion of the project will create 331 jobs during construction, noted a federal media statement. The length of the buried AC line in Canada is 1.3 kilometres, noted a federal environmental report. The Haldimand Converter Station will be located close to the Nanticoke transformer station switchyard. The converter station will convert 500 kilovolts of AC power to 320 kilovolts direct current (DC) power or vice versa. The HVDC transmission line would consist of two transmission cables, one positively charged and the other negatively.
The length of the Canadian portion of the HVDC transmission line is 48.1 kilometres, consisting of 1.3 kilometres on land and 46.8 kilometres under the lakebed.
The project will provide the first direct electricity link between Ontario and Pennsylvania. If all approvals are obtained, construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2018 with an expected in-service date in the fourth quarter of 2020.
This project is being developed by ITC Holdings Corp., the largest independent electricity transmission company in the United States. ITC acquired the rights to develop the Lake Erie Connector project from Lake Erie Power Corp. in June 2014. ITC is a Fortis company.
Previous approvals included a Presidential Permit from the U.S. Department of Energy, which is necessary for international border-crossing projects.
ITC has completed the necessary system impact studies in Ontario and the U.S., signed service agreements with the manufacturers of the converter stations and the submarine cable, and secured nearly all land necessary for the terrestrial cable route, converter stations and construction laydown areas, notes the ITC website.
The company has also held or participated in public consultations in Ontario and Pennsylvania to gather community input.