Manitoba

Province approves environmental licence for Manitoba-Minnesota transmission line

The Manitoba government has approved the environmental licence needed to green-light a transmission line from Manitoba to Minnesota.

Hydro transmission project still needs federal certificate

The Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project is expected to provide the final link in a chain bringing hydroelectricity from generating stations in northern Manitoba through the Bipole III transmission line and across the U.S. border. (Chris Seto/CBC)

The Manitoba government has approved the environmental licence needed to green-light a transmission line from Manitoba to Minnesota.

Construction of the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project is already underway in Minnesota.

Now that the project has passed environmental hurdles in Manitoba, work will start on this side of the border as soon as the federal government issues a required federal certificate, the province said Thursday.

"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," Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires said in a release.

"This project will not only create jobs and generate revenue here at home, it will also have a significant impact on reducing global emissions."

The line will provide the final link in a chain bringing hydroelectricity from generating stations in northern Manitoba through the Bipole III transmission line and across the U.S. border, as part of a deal with Minnesota Power.

All told, the line is expected to cost roughly $453 million and increase the province's electricity export capacity to 3,185 megawatts from 2,300 megawatts.

It will also double Manitoba Hydro's ability to import electricity from the U.S. to ensure a reliable energy supply in the event of emergencies, the Crown energy corporation's website says.

The province says the approval process included public hearings, a review by the National Energy Board and a detailed Crown-Indigenous consultation process.

The 500-kilovolt power line is expected to be completed by June 2020.

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With files from Ian Froese