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Manitoba Hydro Projects: BiPole III CEC Hearings

Bipole III Clean Environment Commission Proceedings:
Update November 22, 2012 to January 25, 2013

Clean Environment Commission (CEC) Hearings for the Bipole III Project are currently recessed, so Manitoba Hydro can prepare Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) materials for route changes. Hearings resume March 4-7 & March 11-14, 2013 from 9am to 5pm in the Crystal Ballroom of Winnipeg's Fort Garry Hotel. Additional hearing dates seem likely.

The proposed Manitoba Hydro Bipole III project is a 1400 km 500kV high-voltage DC electrical transmission line originating near the site for the proposed Conawapa hydroelectric generating station on the Nelson River, and terminating east of Winnipeg, east of the Winnipeg Floodway.

The CEC is conducting public hearing about the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of constructing and operating this proposed project, as requested by the Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship. Using information gathered from hearings, the CEC will prepare a report for the minister, with recommendations regarding the project, potential licence standards and other matters.

Hearings were adjourned in late November 2012, to allow time to review Manitoba Hydro's January 2013 supplemental environmental assessment for the route changes as suggested by Manitoba Conservation.

Manitoba Wildlands is registered as an unfunded participant for the Bipole III CEC proceedings and hearings for the Bipole III Transmission Project.

This update covers from the adjournment of hearings on November 22, 2012 until January 17, 2013. Please click links below for more information.

We will be adding further updates as the hearings progress. Previous updates are also available on this page.

Bipole III Coalition Motion

The Bipole III Coalition, a grass-roots organization of Manitoba citizens concerned about the routing of Bipole III, who are a funded participant in the Bipole III CEC hearings, filed a notice of motion with the CEC on January 11, 2013.

The Bipole III Coalition notice of motion requests that:

  1. Participants be allowed to cross-examine Manitoba Hydro witnesses on the issues relating to Bipole III Route changes and construction methods.
  2. The Coalition be allowed to pursue and complete its cross-examination of Manitoba Hydro witnesses relating to the possible use of underground cable for part of the Bipole III Route which traverses agricultural land.
  3. Participants be allowed to cross-examine Manitoba Hydro witnesses on the Responses to Information Requests asked of Manitoba Hydro by the CEC by way of its letter from the Chair dated December 3, 2012.
  4. The Coalition be allowed to present expert evidence in the form of two Reports dealing with:
    1. options to the Bipole III Route terminating at the Riel Converter Station as proposed by Manitoba Hydro; and
    2. the possibility of the use of underground cable for part of the Bipole III Route traversing prime agricultural land."

View January 11, 2013 Bipole III Coalition Notice of Motion (PDF)
View January 11, 2013 Bipole III Coalition Motion Arguments (PDF)

Manitoba Hydro did not object to the motion, so no hearing was required. On January 18, 2013 the CEC issued a letter indicating its decision that:

  1. The Bipole III Coalition and other Participants will be allowed to cross-examine Manitoba Hydro on the issues relating to:
    • The feasibility of terminating Bipole III at the Dorsey Converter Station and re-routing Bipole II to the Riel Converter Station; and
    • The feasibility of using underground cable for part of the Bipole III Route which traverses agricultural land.
  2. The Bipole III Coalition will be allowed to present expert evidence in the form of two reports dealing with both of these options.

View January 18, 2013 CEC letter to Bipole III Coalition and other participants (PDF)

Manitoba Hydro Responses to Undertakings

During the hearing, Manitoba Hydro representatives undertook to provide answers to specific questions for which they did not have an answer readily available (known as undertakings).

Numerous undertakings were made, but the tracking of these undertakings is problematic, with no master list to refer to.

On December 14, 2012 Manitoba Hydro provided answers to the CEC with a "list of undertakings Manitoba Hydro believes it provided during the hearing," responses to ten undertakings, assurances that any unanswered undertakings would be answered, and a request to identify any undertakings which may have been missed.

View December 14, 2012 Letter to CEC from Manitoba Hydro (PDF)
View December 14, 2012 Attachment 1: List of Undertakings from Manitoba Hydro (PDF)
View December 14, 2012 Attachment 2: Ten Answers to Undertakings (PDF)

Shortly after hearings adjourned in late November, the CEC sent a December 3, 2012 letter to Manitoba Hydro that contained a number of new information requests as follows:

  1. Is it technologically feasible to connect Bipole III to Dorsey and divert Bipole I or II through the Interlake and connect it to Riel? Please address this from a technological perspective, putting aside costing for now.
    • Is it technologically feasible to install at Dorsey the converter equipment intended for Bipole III at Riel; and to move the converter equipment of one of the Bipoles at Dorsey to Riel?
  2. If it would be technologically feasible, what would be the cost differential?
    • Please provide relative costs for the project as proposed and for the alternative above. For the purpose of this costing, assume that, southeast of Westbourne, the FPR would go more-or-less straight east, rather than turning south.
    • Also, include that the Bipole III line would be somewhat shorter, offset by the need for a new stretch of Bipole I or II.
  3. In his response, Mr. Neufeld noted that some experts had looked at this a number of years ago. Have there been any changes in technology or construction methods in ensuing years that might change the experts' conclusions?
  4. What other constraints, if any, are there to this possible alternative?

Manitoba Hydro had not responded to any of these information requests as of January 25, 2013.

View December 3, 2012 Letter to Manitoba Hydro from CEC (PDF)

Return to Bipole III Proceedings and Hearings Listing

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