Sharing Power – Could an East West Power Grid Soon Be Reality?

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark Is Now Requesting the Federal Government to Help Construct New Power Infrastructure That Could Help the Province Sell Hydro Power to Alberta.

Politicians have often considered the possibility of building an east-west power grid in Canada.

The idea of trading electricity is back for discussion as British Columbia Premier Christy Clark is now requesting the federal government to help construct new powder infrastructure that could help the province sell hydro power to Alberta.

According to the plans, the east-west grid could also help combat climate change and help Canada achieve its environmental goals.In March this year, B.C. Premier Christy Clark is expected to hold a meeting with environmental ministers from across Canada to discuss how the country can fulfill the commitments it made at the UN climate conference in Paris.

The major step would be to build new electrical infrastructure that would allow British Columbia to sell Hydro to Alberta. However the question remains whether this is just another idea or whether this is an idea whose time has come.

Building the new electrical infrastructure could be an expensive affair, the price of transmission lines is huge, and moreover, the longer the distance the higher the costs shoot up.

For example, in Manitoba, the price estimate for the Bipole III transmission line has risen from $2.2 billion in 2007, to $3.3 billion in 2011, and up to $4.6 billion in 2014. The line itself is 1400 Kilometers. A grid connecting the four western provinces could measure up to 2000 Kilometers.

READ  Uber in Canada Faces the Heat From Cities, Taxi Drivers

Alberta still remains lukewarm on the idea, and the province’s premier Rachel Notley has described it as “a bit hypothetical.”

However the province could benefit from the project, as of now 55 percent of Alberta’s power comes from coal. The province is also active in the process of decommissioning all of its coal power plants and new natural gas burning facilities are expected to make up much of the shortfall. However while these produce lesser emissions than coal, they are not as clean as hydroelectricity

Whether the project will actually take shape still remains to be seen, but the value the provinces will get from the idea still remains high.