$54M P.E.I. underwater power cable contract goes to Korean company

Maritime Electric has confirmed it has put down a $6M deposit for the fabrication of an electricity cable to the mainland.

Entire project could cost up to $140M

Korean company LS Cable has been awarded the contract for a portion of the project that will see underwater power cables run from P.E.I. to the mainland. (CBC)

A Korean company has won a $54-million contract for a portion of the project for two electricity cables from P.E.I. to the mainland under the Northumberland Strait, Maritime Electric spokeswoman Kim Griffin told CBC News Thursday.

LS Cable, which provides high-voltage electric transmission systems and other power solutions, will fabricate the cable that will be installed between Borden-Carleton in western P.E.I., and Cape Tormentine, N.B.

Maritime Electric already gave LS Cable a down payment of 10 per cent — that amounts to just under $6 million.

An environmental assessment is not complete but Griffin said the company had to move forward with the project.

"In a project of this size, to be successful in the lead time you have to order things up front," Griffin said.

If there's any problem, she added, the P.E.I. electric utility will put a hold on the contract. 

"In this situation there's still federal and provincial regulatory approval process that we're working on and if something happens along the way we'll just have to slow things down."

In March, the previous federal government announced a contribution of $50 million toward installing two cables with a total capacity of 360 MW, replacing the two 100 MW lines that currently run under the strait. The province said in June it would also contribute $50 million.

The total cost of the project has been estimated at between $120 million and $140 million.

The cables are nearly four decades old and have a life expectancy of about 50 years. Maritime Electric has said every year past 40 poses a greater risk of leaking.

Maritime Electric, NB Power and government officials held public open houses on the project in October.

Discussions about installation of new cables began as far back as 2005.

With files from Krystalle Ramlakhan


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