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Work on west-end high-voltage line expected to start early next year

Transmission line to new electric arc furnaces to be ready in mid- to late-2027
Projected route of 230 KV transmission project

Construction of the 230-kilovolt transmission line that will serve Algoma Steel's game-changing electric arc furnaces is expected to start early in 2025 and conclude in mid- to late-2027.

"So when we look at the scope of this, it's a 300-megawatt connection," says Rob Brewer, president and chief executive officer of PUC Services Inc. 

"The entire city of Sault Ste. Marie is 75,000 people," Brewer says.

"We peak at about 120 megawatts. So it's two and a half times the entire city load that's required just for two electric arc furnaces, and there's a lot of other industrial electrification in behind that."

Last week, Sault Ste. Marie city council authorized a partnership between PUC's transmission subsidiary and Axium Infrastructure to develop and build the the new transmission line.

"Axium is a trusted Canadian and infrastructure investment firm," Brewer told Mayor Matthew Shoemaker and ward councillors.

"They have a head office in Montreal and they have an office in Toronto. They approach infrastructure investments as a long-term owner, the same way we do.

"You buy, build, and you hold. It's the same philosophy that they have. So it's a great partner," Brewer said.

Brewer reported that an application for "leave to construct" the new transmission line is in final stages with the Ontario Energy Board as community and Indigenous engagements continue.

Right-of-way clearing has been completed, he said.

The new 230-kilovolt transmission line will run from Hydro One’s Third Line station in the city’s north end to a new PUC transformer station in the west end near the steel mill.

The towers will be about 40 metres high, spaced about 200 metres apart.

They'll look like the steel towers on the south side of Lyons Avenue between Patrick and Korah Road.

Also last week, city council authorized PUC Inc. to enter a joint venture with three other utilities, Greater Sudbury Utilities, North Bay Hydro and NT Power, to pursue unspecified initiatives "that will benefit both the utilities and the broader communities they serve."

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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