The Liberal government of Shawn Graham has proposed a transmission tie project between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which will provide little benefit to New Brunswick. It’s a magic trick to distract voters from the failed Liberal attempt to sell NB Power. With their credibility gone, they can’t do the right thing, what Vermont did – Just buy energy from Quebec.
An SNC Lavalin report on the Nova Scotia electrical system suggests that “another intertie with New Brunswick would be very desirable to assure reliability and continuity of the supply.” But the cost for New Brunswick may be as high as $250 million depending on the level of reinforcement required within the province. We could see an increase in power rates of 2%.
NS Power’s system is presently susceptible to outages if the NB Power line disconnects during a time in which power flow is in the direction of Nova Scotia. The proposed line would provide a parallel path that corrects the weakness of their system.
All three Maritime Provinces are increasing their wind power portfolios and while a stronger connection may allow easier balancing of wind power variability, these short-term load transfers do not make a business case for this line.
The first priority for New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia must be to jointly negotiate a power purchase deal with Quebec, and to support the associated strengthening of transmission capacity from the Quebec / NB border eastward into Nova Scotia and PEI.
This Atlantic Canada link could be part of a national “East-West” program of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission links to move hydro power from areas of surplus to provinces trying to reduce their carbon footprint.
Ideally, the federal government would show leadership in this area by providing green loans to provinces for the construction of renewable energy generation and transmission initiatives like this. We would see significant reduction in Greenhouse gases, and provide an alternative for some of the nearly 400,000 homes in Atlantic Canada that are heated by fuel oil, using 1.4 billion liters a year.
Our dependence on fossil fuels is a national security issue. We require urgent action to retrofit our homes, to build renewable energy, to transmit hydro and many other initiatives. We will see increased oil prices by 2012 and into the future. If we do nothing, it will cost Canadians annually billions of dollars above today’s costs.
This HVDC electrical transmission line would allow Newfoundland to connect its Lower Churchill project and send power to the Maritime Provinces when its project is completed.