Proposed pipeline project would include 20 megawatt pumping station

Sign at the Hydro Ottawa Operations Centre.

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.

Energy East Pipeline Map
This map shows the route of the proposed Energy East pipeline. About 70km of existing natural gas pipeline near Ottawa would be converted to carry crude oil.

7 thoughts on “Proposed pipeline project would include 20 megawatt pumping station”

  1. It turns out the pipeline will create even more CO2 because of the great amount of electricity the pumping stations require. Who is going to pay for that extra infrastructure? Are the ratepayers going to be stuck with paying for TransCanada’s dangerous, unnecessary and polluting pipeline for Tar Sands oil? We know better than to keep investing in fossil fuels, so why is this even being considered? My mother always said if you know better, then do better.

  2. That pipeline has not been approved, so why spend (our?) money on this?
    Who is paying for this planning?
    We know that just about every (if not, every single) pipeline will have spills and accidents, and that anything along the line is at risk of being destroyed, including the wetlands this “proposed” pipeline is going to run through or near.
    What about the property values that are near or perceived to be possible affected by this pipeline?
    What about the low oil prices, making it not cost effective to ship out expensive dirty oil from the oil sands, is there even a market for it? Why not refine the oil in Alberta, instead of clumsily pushing oil using massive pressures through a pipe *all* the way the east coast, right through a massive country like Canada? Of course there is going to be spills! One only has to look at a map of all the pipeline spills in history. It’s just about everywhere.
    I have the feeling that this pipeline is going to happen no matter what, and that all this “proposing” and “approving” is just a mechanism to keep us at bay. We’re just seen like an obstacle, an annoyance.
    They’re already spending our money to “prepare”. Then they’ll play the game “oh, but we are already ready, you wouldn’t want all that work and money spent to be thrown out the window, would you?”

    1. I can’t comment on everything but nobody cared about the property values when that pipeline came right through my family’s property! We were almost expropriated from our land until my father was actually able to settle on a price for the land we HAD to sell (which was 1/2 of what we owned. NOBODY from Stittsville said or did anything about it so why now? The pipeline is there so lets use it. I want that oil, I don’t want it sold to the third world countries that will turn on us in an instant.

  3. Hydro One and Hydro Ottawa might want to wait until Energy East gets its “social licence”.

    A “valid” social licence can be granted only by “informed” citizens. Will citizens, informed about the risks and consequences of bitumen spills into water supplies and habitats, and about the total greenhouse gas emissions related to this pipeline, actually grant a social licence? Not likely, especially when there are much safer and saner alternatives available.

    Of course, there is always the possibility that a social licence will be magically pulled out of a politician’s hat.

  4. I thought Ontario had one of the cleanest electricity generation with little greenhouse gas production. (Nuclear, Hydro, Wind, Solar and Nat Gas). I think Ecology Ottawa are either making up numbers or there is an error in what they are quoted to have said. “Generating this much power will create roughly 16,000 kg of CO2 which is equivalent to emissions of 3,200 households,” . These numbers give household emissions as only 5 kg (0.005 tons) per household. If this is true then it is a very low emission level.

    1. Hi Harold, I can respond personally as the Ecology Ottawa person who did the greenhouse gas calculation. I used the CO2 estimates from the Ontario Ministry of Energy’s long term energy plan (2013 version, this is the latest with estimates going past 2020)
      You are quite correct that Ontario’s electricity has a very low emission profile. The rub is that a steady 20 MW is a large amount of power. Multiplied over a year it’s roughly HALF the use in all City of Ottawa facilities. This includes street lighting, water and sewage treatment and all City buildings.
      I’m currently traveling now but when I get back I would be willing to show my work. The excise certainly drove home the electricity content in a tank of gas.

  5. Harold,

    Back from traveling and you are correct, I made a mistake.

    If I assume 20 g of CO2 / kWh of Ontario electricity and the pumping station using 164 GWh of electricity annually, I get 3280 tonnes of CO2 emitted annually. If a household is directly responsible for 4 tonnes of CO2 annually, that would be 820 households.

    Thanks for your scrutiny; I’ll point this out to the editor.

    Mike Fletcher.

Leave a Reply