Hydro One and Hydro Ottawa are planning extensive infrastructure upgrades to support the power requirements of the proposed Energy East pipeline, including 20 megawatts for a pumping station near Richmond.
“Initial plans to service this customer will require extensive infrastructure upgrades due to the proposed remote location of their station and the size of the load they require,” said Dan Seguin, a spokesperson with Hydro Ottawa.
He said it was too early to say how much those upgrades would cost, or who would pay for them.
TransCanada’s proposed pipeline would run just west of Stittsville and Richmond, converting an existing natural gas pipeline to carry oil. Multiple pumping stations are planned along the pipeline to keep crude oil moving from Alberta to New Brunswick.
The 20 megawatt pumping station is a significant power requirement for an industrial operation. It’s roughly equivalent to the amount of power required for a town the size of Renfrew.
“It shows the huge amount of power needed to move something as thick as bitumen around even in the diluted form,” says Mike Fletcher, a volunteer with Ecology Ottawa.
“Generating this much power will create roughly 16,000 kg of CO2 which is equivalent to emissions of 3,200 households,” he says.(Editor’s note – please see comments below re: equivalent power consumption.)
“The overall requirement for commercial power for the pump stations in Ontario is expected to reach a peak demand of roughly 400 megawatts,” says Tim Duboyce, a spokesperson with TransCanada.
“Our forecast in-service date is late 2020. In addition to the power requirements mentioned above for pump stations, there will be a need to supply a number of other facilities such as safety valve stations which will be located all along the pipeline route. Those particular facilities require a low demand power supply not unlike a rural farm electric service,” he says.
TransCanada’s pipeline plans are being reviewed by the National Energy Board. At the municipal level, the City of Ottawa has established a cross-functional working group that is reviewing the application and meeting with TransCanada officials to discuss issues such as emergency management planning, and how the company will mitigate the pipeline’s impact on sensitive environmental areas. A report on the pipeline is expected to be presented to the Environment Committee in late 2016.