Power needs in SW Ontario to triple

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Hydro One building new transmission lines

Heather Brouwer/The Independent

Hydro One is planning on building new infrastructure in St. Clair Township.

The electricity company is hoping to construct a new double-circuit 230 kilovolt transmission line between its Lambton Transmission Station and its Chatham Switching Station to help meet increasing demand in the region.

“As you know, southwestern Ontario is growing. It’s growing rapidly,” said Alexandra Moskalyk, manager of special projects for Hydro One, at a presentation at a Feb. 7 council meeting.

“Between 2018 and 2026, electricity usage is forecasted to triple.”
The expected growth in demand would be equivalent to adding a city as big as Ottawa to the electrical grid, she added.

Moskalyk presented five route options for the line, noting that four would require upgrading or looping existing infrastructure, while only one option would be a completely new build.

“We’re very hopeful that we can stay within the confines of our existing infrastructure and not have to go greenfield,” she said.

“That is certainly an option, we just have to go out, talk to stakeholders and assess these options before we can confirm any of them.”

The project is still in its early stages and will need to go through an environmental assessment process, engage in dialogue with the community, and receive approval from the Ontario Energy Board before construction begins.

“We are looking to work with the municipality and the community and our neighbours to try to collect as much information as we can at this time to determine what is the best route.”

Virtual tours of the project will begin Feb. 25, and live virtual discussions will be held March 9 and 10. Registration information can be found on the company’s website.

Hydro One is hoping to begin construction on the line in the spring of 2027, with the goal for the new line to be in service in 2028.