Bipole III in service this summer

Photo of power line technicians working on a Bipole tower.

Travelling almost 900 miles through tundra, swamp and forest, after five years of construction our Bipole III transmission project is nearing the finish line.

Increasing our service capacity

After testing, commissioning and a trial operation period as Bipole III integrates into our system, it will add 2,000 megawatts to our high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) transmission capacity. This means we will be able to move more power to more people, whether they use it as their sole source or as a supplement to their domestic supply.

With an in-service date scheduled in July this year, the 500-kV Bipole III HVDC transmission line will strengthen the reliability and security of the province’s energy supply by creating an alternate route for electricity delivery from northern generating stations to customers in southern Manitoba and beyond.

On March 31, Hydro workers tied in the final connections between Bipole III’s brand-new converter stations and its transmission lines. On April 2, we energized the whole system for the first time, delivering 50 megawatts of hydroelectric energy from Keewatinohk Converter Station in the north to Riel Converter Station in the south.

“To be able to complete this phase on time on a megaproject like this shows the tireless effort of our staff and contractors,” said Jim Keil, Manitoba Hydro’s manager of Transmission Line and Civil Construction.

Building the HVDC transmission project was a massive undertaking involving the installation of over 3,000 steel towers and 20 specialized converter transformers. At the project’s peak, it was one of the 20 largest construction projects in North America.

Backstopping our supply

Prior to Bipole III’s approaching completion this summer, most of our electricity supply travelled along two main arteries: Bipole I and Bipole II. When assessing the need for an additional transmission corridor, our experts identified a risk in the existing lines’ proximity to one another. The experts determined extreme wind or other calamity could potentially knock out both lines at once, creating a serious problem for our customers.

When planning the Bipole III project, ensuring the reliability of Manitoba’s energy future was key. To safeguard our supply, Bipole III’s transmission corridor takes a completely different route south ensuring our hydropower can flow at all times to the people and businesses who need it.