Power to the people

BC Hydro has completed a new 230-kilovolt transmission line to increase supply to the East Kootenay

Left: A heavy-duty helicopter refuels while on the ground helping construct the transmission line. Right:Helicopters were used to lower in the wooden transmission structures

Left: A heavy-duty helicopter refuels while on the ground helping construct the transmission line. Right:Helicopters were used to lower in the wooden transmission structures

A new electricity transmission line between Invermere and Golden is improving hydro service to the East Kootenay.

After two years in construction, the 230-kilovolt Columbia Valley transmission line was energized late last year.

“The Columbia Valley Transmission project is a significant engineering feat that has been four years in the making,” said Greg Reimer, BC Hydro’s executive vice president of transmission and distribution. “It entailed designing and building a route that safely crosses through one of B.C.’s most mountainous regions, avoiding avalanche areas, while minimizing the footprint on sensitive wildlife habitat.”

At a cost of $114 million, the project included: construction of the new transmission line from Invermere to Golden, along the benches to the west of the Columbia River; construction of a 69-kilovolt transmission line from the new Kicking Horse substation to the existing Golden substation; expansion and modifications to substations in Invermere, Golden and Cranbrook.

To construct the new transmission line, BC Hydro built almost 500 wooden transmission structures, each up to 25 metres tall and weighing up to 5,800 kilograms.

Helicopters were used to install the H-frame structures and string electrical wires in the rugged area of construction.

The project was approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission in September 2010.

“This investment has not only benefitted our region economically, but our residents can now confidently depend on a reliable, clean energy grid service,” said Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.

“The Columbia Valley Transmission line will supply reliable power to homes and businesses in the upper Columbia Valley. The new line has already created 150 new jobs during construction and will attract new investment in the region,” said Rich Coleman, B.C. Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas.