The Labrador-Island Link (LIL) will carry electricity from the generating facility at Muskrat Falls to the island of Newfoundland. It’s an 1,100 km 900 megawatt High Voltage direct current (HVdc) transmission line running from central Labrador, crossing the Strait of Belle Isle, and extending to Soldiers Pond on the Avalon Peninsula. Construction work on LIL began in Labrador in June 2014. As of the end of 2016, almost 70% of the construction of LIL was complete. The transmission assets are expected to be in service by mid-2018.
The transmission project includes building and operating:
- A converter station at Muskrat Falls to change alternating current (ac) power into direct current (dc) power.
- 400 km of HVdc transmission line from the Muskrat Falls converter station to the Strait of Belle Isle at Forteau Point.
- 35 km underwater cable crossing across the Strait of Belle Isle, from Forteau Point, Labrador to Shoal Cove, Newfoundland.
- 700 km of overhead HVdc transmission line from Shoal Cove to Soldiers Pond, Newfoundland.
- A converter station at Soldiers Pond to convert the dc power back into ac power for distribution on the island’s electricity grid.
- Grounding systems, at L’Anse au Diable (on the Labrador side of the Strait of Belle Isle) and at Dowden’s Point (in Conception Bay, Newfoundland).
Detailed descriptions of each of these components are available in the Labrador-Island Link Environmental Impact Statement, Plain Language Summary.
Strait of Belle Isle Marine Cable Crossing
To connect the transmission line from Labrador to Newfoundland, a 35 km marine cable crossing was constructed across the Strait of Belle Isle, from Forteau Point, Labrador to Shoal Cove, Newfoundland.
The marine cable crossing included the installation of three marine power cables along the seabed across the Strait of Belle Isle. Using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology, two drill rigs bore three holes from the shoreline and out under the seabed on both sides of the Straits. Cables were installed through the drilled holes, and placed along the sea floor by a cable installation vessel.
The Strait of Belle Isle Marine Cable Crossing made history during 2016 with the first ever connection between Labrador and the island. Several world records were reached on this project. The pull-in (as it is referred by industry) broke the current world record for the longest high voltage direct current cable landfall pull-in in the world. Another record was reached when 540,000 tonnes of locally quarried rock was installed over 80 km to create the protective berm over the three subsea cables. To date, this is the largest subsea rock installation campaign that has been performed in a single campaign in NL, and the fastest known fall pipe vessel rock installation campaign of this quantity.
Labrador Transmission Assets (LTA)
Two, 250 km 315kV High Voltage alternating current transmission lines (500 megawatts) have been constructed between the existing hydroelectric facility in Churchill Falls and Muskrat Falls. At the end of 2016, work was substantially completed on the construction of this transmission line that will connect the two generating facilities.
Unlike most transmission lines in the province, the Labrador-Island Link will be a High Voltage direct current (HVdc) line, which is more effective for carrying large amounts of power over long distances as well as underwater. It will be converted to High Voltage alternating current (HVac) at the converter station in Soldiers Pond before being added to the provincial grid as power for homes and businesses.