Long term energy plan released for Newfoundland and Labrador

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has released a long term energy plan that envisions adding thousands of new megawatts of wind to a system that currently has one 360 kW wind-diesel system and another 51 MW with power purchase agreements. "Our excellent wind regime and extensive hydro resources provide the foundation for a substantial wind development, in the order of thousands of megawatts," the plan says. According to the document, the government-owned Newfoundland and Labrador Energy Corporation is doing a feasibility study and business case for multi-phase large scale wind development in conjunction with planning for the province's proposed 2800 MW Lower Churchill hydroelectric project on sparsely populated mainland Labrador. "The results of market and market access studies from the Lower Churchill Project will be incorporated into the wind business plan," it says. "As development in Labrador proceeds, and transmission capacity out of Labrador is developed, there will be potential to add even more wind power." The plan estimates the province has more than 5000 MW of undeveloped wind and 6000 MW of undeveloped hydro resources. "We have the potential to replace greenhouse gas-emitting energy sources with our clean hydroelectricity and wind, both here at home and in the North American market place." Newfoundland and Labrador currently requires only about 2400 MW to meet its annual electricity needs. The island of Newfoundland, separated from Labrador by the Strait of Belle Isle, will only be able to integrate about 80 MW of wind power because its system is isolated from the rest of the North American grid. "A transmission link between the Island and Labrador providing access to the rest of the continent will facilitate development of the substantial wind resources on the island for export under the same conditions as Labrador wind power."