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Push for power lines accelerated

0 megawatts of power Site C will generate or Dokie’s 300 megawatts, it will need more power lines to get that energy to market.

0 megawatts of power Site C will generate or Dokie’s 300 megawatts, it will need more power lines to get that energy to market.

GE and Plutonic executives also expect that their $660 million 196-megawatt Toba Montrose hydroelectric project, located 190 kilometers northwest of Vancouver, will be in full operation by 2010’s fourth quarter.

Dokie and Toba are the only renewable energy investments that GE has made in Canada.

Premier Gordon Campbell said last week that the northwest transmission line, which is in early phases of development, and the northeast transmission line, which was proposed in the throne speech, are both critical parts of B.C.’s energy strategy.

He made the remarks during the launch of a new government-industry marketing campaign that will promote B.C.’s “$100 billion green energy investment opportunity” to the world.

The CleanWorksBC marketing campaign highlights the more than $15 billion in new clean energy projects that are ready for development in B.C.

B.C. has three major lines that run beyond the province’s borders – one to Alberta and two to Washington state.

“New transmission infrastructure will link Northeastern B.C. to our integrated grid, provide clean power to the energy industry and open up new capacity for clean power exports to Alberta, Saskatchewan and south of the border,” the government said in its throne speech.

“We will seek major transmission upgrades with utilities in California and elsewhere.”

In an interview with BIV, Plutonic’s CEO echoed the premier’s comments about extending B.C.’s northern lines into Alberta.

“One of the big criticisms of the oilsands is that you’re using one carbon fuel to get another one,” said Donald McInnes.

“If Site C were to be built, why don’t we build another line to Alberta and reduce the oilsands dependence on natural gas as an energy source for extracting gasoline and oil?”

He said the province’s three major transmission lines are at a capacity that will make it difficult to continue to import enough energy for British Columbians. “Our last real power line built for trade was completed in 1986,” he said. “Remember that, since 1984, the province’s population [has increased by] 50%.”

Last week was a big week for B.C.’s clean energy sector as governments and industry tried to leverage the Olympic spotlight by making major announcements.

On Clean Energy Day in B.C. last Monday, Vancouver-based venture capital firm Chrysalix Energy announced that its clean energy fund had reached $100 million and will likely hit $150 million in March. •

This article from Business in Vancouver February 23-March 1, 2010; issue 1061

Business in Vancouver ( has been publishing in-depth local business news, analysis and commentary since 1989. The newspaper also produces a weekly ranked list of the biggest companies and players in a wide range of B.C. industries and commercial sectors, monthly features and industry-focused sections that arm its subscribers with a complete package of local business intelligence each week.