Newfoundland and Labrador wheels hydropower through Quebec

Newfoundland and Labrador reports it is wheeling power from the 5,428-MW Churchill Falls hydroelectric project through neighboring Quebec into the greater North American marketplace, for the first time in the province’s history.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams announced the province’s energy corporation, Nalcor Energy, through its subsidiary, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, signed an agreement with Hydro-Quebec. That agreement permits Newfoundland and Labrador to transport power through Quebec to Canada’s border with the United States.

�This is truly a historic and momentous occasion for the people of our province, as never before have we been granted access through the province of Quebec with our power,� Williams said. �Today marks another significant milestone for us as a people, as we continue on our path to self-reliance and long-term prosperity. This power sales arrangement puts us squarely in the game as a hydroelectricity producer and seller.�

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro signed a services agreement with Hydro-Quebec under Hydro-Quebec’s open access transmission tariff for power transmission from Labrador to the Canada-U.S. border. NLH is selling power on Canada’s side of the border to Emera Energy Inc., which began selling that power to energy markets in Canada and the U.S. on April 1. That power is from a �recall block� Newfoundland and Labrador has access to from Churchill Falls.

NLH has held a power purchase agreement with Hydro-Quebec for a block of recall power from the Churchill Falls project since 1998. The original contract was renewed for a three-year term in 2001, and again in 2004 for a five-year term. The most recent renewal expired March 31. NLH has the right to recall 300 MW at the same price as Hydro-Quebec’s current pricing under the 1969 Churchill Falls power contract. On average, NLH uses about 170 MW of power in Labrador, leaving about 130 MW available for export after domestic and industrial requirements in Labrador are met.

As with past recall arrangements, only energy surplus to the province’s own needs would be exported outside of Newfoundland and Labrador, the premier said. NLH’s priority will continue to be the meeting of local and domestic needs within Labrador, the government said.

An energy plan for Newfoundland and Labrador released in 2007 set in place a plan to develop the province’s resources. (HNN 9/14/07) That plan looks toward the year 2041, the year a power purchase contract with Quebec expires, allowing Newfoundland to take full advantage of Churchill Falls, on its territory in mainland Labrador.

Williams said the province hopes eventually to develop the expertise at Nalcor to act as a seller into final markets.

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