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New Birtle transmission line starts sending power to Saskatchewan

This article was published in May 2021 and may be outdated.

On March 29, at 1:41 p.m., the Birtle Transmission Project powered up and began delivering renewable hydropower from Manitoba to Saskatchewan. The new line was completed two months ahead of schedule and under budget.

The 46-kilometre transmission line from Birtle to the Saskatchewan boundary was built over the past winter and allows Manitoba Hydro to fulfill a recent power purchase agreement with SaskPower, Saskatchewan’s electrical utility.

SaskPower built its portion of the line from the provincial boundary to Tantallon.

The two utilities signed an agreement last year that will see up to 215 megawatts (MW) of hydroelectric capacity added to the SaskPower grid. The agreement will bring Manitoba Hydro’s total exports to SaskPower up to 315 MW.

The 230-kilovolt transmission line brings mutual benefits for customers of both SaskPower and Manitoba Hydro. Revenue from power exports contribute to running Manitoba Hydro and keeping rates low for customers in Manitoba, and Manitoba electricity helps SaskPower achieve a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through using renewable energy sources.

The project also received approval for up to $18.8 million in federal funding under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, Green Infrastructure Stream.

The Birtle Transmission Project was built by a joint venture partnership between the Indigenous community of Birdtail Sioux and Forbes Bros. Inc.