Winnipeg – The Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project (MMTP) has been granted the environmental approvals it needs to proceed but now must wait on a federal certificate to begin construction.
“Our government recognizes the advantage of harnessing our renewable resources as we collectively work to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires in a press release. “Manitoba has always punched above its weight as a clean, green energy provider. This project will not only create jobs and generate revenue here at home, it will also have a significant impact on reducing global emissions.”
With the environmental license approved, crews expect to begin work soon with a projected completion time of June 2020.
Once operational, the clean energy exported to the U.S is expected to displace 1.5 megatonnes of emissions annually. The project will also double Manitoba Hydro’s import capability. This will make the system more reliable in emergencies and bring down electricity costs during drought periods, a release reads.
The environmental assessment process focused on the mitigation of significant impacts along the transmission line route.
To achieve this, the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission hosted public hearings recommending the project be licensed under the Environment Act with specific conditions to address public concerns.
The National Energy Board has also inspected the project and provided recommendations to the federal government that a certificate be issued for the MMTP under the National Energy Board Act.
The license comes with conditions requiring environmental protection during construction, preservation of cultural sites and protections for private lands, and environmental monitoring and reporting after work on the line is completed.
Manitoba was also required to conduct a Crown-Indigenous consultation process during its review. The consultation process provided Indigenous communities with opportunities to learn about the project and provide input.
The project must now receive a federal certificate for work to begin.
“We call on Canada to issue this certificate immediately so as to avoid construction delays, which could cost Manitoba ratepayers millions of dollars in lost revenue and construction delay penalties,” said Squires.