Ontario grid access sought for 2,824-MW Lower Churchill

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has asked the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator to approve the transmission of power into Ontario from the proposed 2,824-MW Lower Churchill hydroelectric project in mainland Labrador.

IESO manages Ontario’s bulk electricity system and operates the wholesale electricity market. The request, filed July 31, is part of the utility’s ongoing analysis of market access options for Lower Churchill power.

NLH earlier this year announced it would assess all options, including an application filed with neighboring Quebec’s grid operator, Hydro-Quebec TransEnergie. That application would allow power from the Lower Churchill project to be transmitted from the Labrador-Quebec border to markets in Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and the northeastern United States.

NLH President Ed Martin said the utility is conducting a system impact assessment to estimate the cost of connecting with Ontario and to identify network upgrades. The information will build on NLH efforts to investigate and obtain transmission service on Hydro-Quebec TransEnergie’s grid.

Martin said Ontario, with a predicted capacity shortfall of 10,000 MW by 2025, is an obvious target market for Lower Churchill power. Ontario has said it wants to double the amount of energy available from renewable sources. Martin noted the Lower Churchill could be a secure source of renewable power.

Martin said NLH’s planning schedule targets approval of the project by 2009 and first power on line by 2015.

Newfoundland negotiates on Innu ownership stake

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams said in June he would consider an Innu Nation request for minority ownership of the project.

Such an agreement could give the Innu a 5 percent ownership stake in the proposed project, which includes two powerhouses on the Churchill River �- 2,000-MW Gull Island and 824-MW Muskrat Falls.

Williams said talks between the government and Innu Nation would continue, despite the death Aug. 1 of a key negotiator, Innu Nation President Ben Michel.

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