Newfoundland energy plan includes new hydro

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador released an energy plan Sept. 11 that calls for the Canadian province to invest revenues from non-renewable resources into developing a renewable resource economy powered by hydro, wind, and other renewables.

The plan also looks to 2041, the year a power purchase contract with Quebec expires, allowing Newfoundland to take full advantage of the 5,428-MW Churchill Falls project on its territory in mainland Labrador. While the project has generated estimated net revenue of $C20 billion (US$19.4 billion) to the end of 2006, Newfoundland and Labrador has received only C$1 billion (US$970 million), the plan pointed out.

�In many ways, this project marked the genesis of our energy economy, yet we have never been in a position to take full advantage of the related financial revenues,� Premier Danny Williams said. �This plan anticipates that day, while developing other resources in the meantime.�

The plan addresses the government’s proposed development of the 2,824-MW Lower Churchill Power project, which includes 2,000-MW Gull Island and 824-MW Muskrat Falls. (HNN 8/14/07) Once the Lower Churchill project begins producing power and a transmission link is completed between Labrador and the island of Newfoundland, 98 percent of Newfoundland and Labrador’s energy will be generated from renewables.

Province could revisit moratorium on small hydro

The plan notes Newfoundland could need more generation to supply increasing demand before Lower Churchill and the transmission link are complete. The government said it could revisit its 1998 decision to impose a moratorium on small hydro projects on the island.

It now says it will decide by 2009 whether the government must implement an alternative plan for electricity supply on the island. If such a plan is needed, it said small hydro might be an effective source of renewable supply.

In 2006, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro completed feasibility studies for two hydroelectric projects -� 36-MW Island Pond and 23-MW Portland Creek -� that could be developed. (HNN 10/12/06) Additionally, other potential sites on the island could be viable for small hydroelectric projects.

If the government lifts the moratorium, it said it would institute a policy that its Energy Corp. will control and coordinate the development of small hydro projects that meet economic thresholds and are viable for an isolated island system. Project selection criteria would be developed at that time to ensure projects selected would provide electricity users with cost-effective energy.

The report, Focusing Our Energy, can be obtained from the Internet at www.gov.nl.ca/energyplan/energyreport.pdf.

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