October 31, 2017

Helicopter takes new Canso Strait transmission towers to new heights

There is excitement in the air at the Strait of Canso.

Highly skilled crews are using a helicopter to help build the tallest electrical transmission towers in Atlantic Canada, which will join Cape Breton and mainland Nova Scotia with high voltage transmission lines.

“This is one of the biggest projects I’ve ever worked on,” said Tom Flewwelling, Senior Engineer at Nova Scotia Power. “It’s really exciting to be part of something that going to help create a cleaner energy future for Nova Scotia for generations to come.”

Six new transmission towers are being built 45 metres to the south of the existing crossing at the Strait of Canso, which will separate the existing transmission lines onto two separate circuits for improved service reliability.

Tower construction has been underway at Aulds Cove since February, with site clearing, tower footings and base tower construction now complete. This phase of tower construction requires a helicopter to deliver the top section of each of the 530 foot towers to the site for final assembly.

Helicopters are used occasionally by Nova Scotia Power to fly new power lines, undertake maintenance and repairs on structures in remote, hard to access areas, and as an alternative to using a crane during tower construction.

“A number of our own employees and contractors have been working together over the past eight months to prepare the site where the towers are now taking shape,” said Flewwelling. “The height of the towers and the unique geography involved in building the new crossing at the Strait of Canso has made this a fascinating project to be a part of.”

The new transmission towers will also support the addition of renewable energy from Newfoundland and Labrador through the Maritime Link. The Maritime Link is a 170 kilometre subsea cable connection that is being built between Cape Breton and Newfoundland and Labrador to enable the delivery of clean, reliable, renewable hydroelectricity to Nova Scotia.

Additional imported hydro via the Maritime Link will assist Nova Scotia Power in achieving a requirement to generate electricity from 40 per cent renewable energy in 2020. In 2016, 28 per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity came from renewable sources, including eight per cent from hydro and tidal generation.

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Dozens of local contractors, suppliers and consultants are helping us make this project a reality. They include:
  • Zutphen Contracting – Port Hood
  • Norvon – Port Hastings
  • MacAskill Boat Safety – Aulds Cove
  • First Strike Security – Sydney - Hire all local workers
  • Strait Supplies – Point Tupper
  • Atlantic Marine and Rigging – Port Hawkesbury
  • Raw Steel Fabricators – Point Tupper
  • Mulgrave Machine Works – Mulgrave
  • A.W. Leil Cranes – Point Tupper
  • ScottVac – LongPoint
  • Strum Consulting – Antigonish
  • Steelmac – Antigonish
  • Jack Reynolds Photography – Port Hawkesbury
  • Ideal Concrete - Point Tupper
  • Langilles Wood Contracting – Aulds Cove
  • Central Supplies – Port Hawkesbury
  • Eastern Sanitation – Antigonish
  • Walker’s Electrical – Creignish
  • DeCoste Electrical – Antigonish
  • Sampson Site Technical Services - Linwood
  • LMI Management - Arisag
  • Myette Engineering - Tracadie
  • MacLeod’s Safety Services - Truro
  • Celtic Air Services- Port Hawkesbury

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Check out this epic construction video taken by our project partner, Irving Equipment, at the Canso Crossing site.