Hydroelectric power key in Manitoba Hydro, Great River Energy memorandum

A recently signed memorandum of understanding will investigate the sale of up to 600 MW of electricity from Canadian utility Manitoba Hydro to American power cooperative Great River Energy.

The deal, which could begin in 2020, would see Great River Energy meet some of its long-term electricity needs via proposed Manitoba Hydro hydroelectric projects.

“We are pleased to work with a trusted partners like Great River Energy to help increase the supply of virtually carbon-free, renewable hydroelectric energy in their supply mix,” Manitoba Hydro President and CEO Scott Thomson said. “This MOU demonstrates the continued strong interest in hydro power in U.S. markets. Expansion of trade with Great River Energy will support expansion of hydropower generating capacity in Manitoba and contribute to the ongoing supply of renewable, reliable and cost-effective electricity to Manitobans.”

Key amongst the plan is the 695-MW Keeyask hydropower plant, which is being developed in partnership with Tatskweyak, Fox Lake, War Lake and York Factory first nations groups. The utility said Keeyask builds on an earlier partnership with the Nisichawayashk Cree Nation that allowed for the construction of the 200-MW Wuskwatim project.

Great River Energy and Manitoba Hydro are already committed to a number of power sale and diversity agreements, including a 200 MW deal that extends through 2030.

“The discussion with Manitoba Hydro opens the door to additional hydropower for Great River Energy and our members,” GRE Vice-President of Membership and Energy Markets Jon Brekke said. “We have reduced our carbon intensity by 20% since 2005. Additional hydropower may be the next logical step in the evolution of our power generation portfolio.”

The cooperative supplies wholesale electric service to 28 distributors in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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