Power project crosses the Strait of Canso

AULD’S COVE: Nova Scotia Power has completed the installation of six new transmission towers that will carry clean hydroelectricity from Muskrat Falls to mainland Nova Scotia.

Tom Flewwelling, Senior Project Engineer, said to see every component of the project in place and working as it should is a bit surreal.

“I’ve been a part of this project from day one, so to finally see it all come together is a true testament to our team’s hard work,” he said. “It’s been on my mind everyday for the past 18 months, so I’m really happy that we’re up and running.”

The $20 million project saw Nova Scotia Power build six new transmission towers spanning the Strait of Canso to connect to the Maritime Link system that will allow the flow of electricity via Newfoundland.

The towers support six high voltage power lines that will provide an important backup connection between mainland and Cape Breton in the event of an outage.

Flewwelling said construction of the towers, which are the tallest in Atlantic Canada standing at 160 metres, was no easy task with installation occurring over active roads and waterways.

“The tower construction was likely the most impressive sight from a bystander point of view – it took a careful combination of personnel, cranes and helicopters to erect the towers.”

Most people would think the project would be relatively straightforward – as it’s six towers and six conductors, Flewwelling said.

“That wasn’t the case. Everything was custom-made, foundations, the towers itself, the conductors and even the hardware – it was all custom built.”

Installing the power lines required a series of scheduled road and marine interruptions to successfully mount and secure the heavy wires.

“Every aspect of the plan was scrutinized from a safety standpoint and repeatedly tested before execution,” he said. “We had to make sure that we had proper procedures in place to alleviate any safety concerns that may arise.”

Power has already begun to flow through the newly constructed transmission lines.

“We energized this project last week, so there’s energy flowing through the new overhead crossing at the Strait of Canso.”

Nova Scotia Power says the new towers represent an investment in service reliability for the Strait area and a commitment to cleaner electricity in Nova Scotia for years to come.