No access to N.B. transmission lines
could hamper P.E.I. wind power export plans
Aug 25, 2009 - Teresa Wright - Charlottetown Guardian
- The Associated Press
A P.E.I. plan to export wind energy to New England
may be in jeopardy now that New Brunswick says it
has no room for Island power on its transmission lines.
Last year, the province announced a $1-billion plan
for wind energy development that would see the Island
increase its wind power production to 500 megawatts
Under the plan, private developers would invest the
capital needed to achieve the province's energy objective
and most of the power would be earmarked for export
to the eastern United States.
But an official with NB Power told the Charlottetown
Guardian on Tuesday there's no room on its transmission
lines for any energy exports from P.E.I.
"The transmission that is available right now is
completely tied up," said Heather MacLean, manager
of media relations for NB Power.
Over a year ago, the New Brunswick utility did tender
some of its transmission capacity for use by other
jurisdictions, but all of the excess was bought up
MacLean said if P.E.I. still wants to export wind
power to New England, it will have to negotiate with
NB Power or Quebec.
That could throw a monkey wrench into the province's
current search for private wind energy developers
who want to export, said Environment Minister Richard
"It's going to hamper our tender for wind development
on P.E.I.," he said. "If the developers can't get
their energy to the market, then we're not going to
get many bids."
Opposition energy critic Mike Currie says Brown should
have known this was going to happen long ago.
Currie has been asking questions about this issue
for some time in the legislature. As a former development
minister, he said he knew there was no room for the
kind of transmission capacity needed to move the large
amounts of power proposed by the province for export.
"The first thing that came into my mind when they
first made their announcement was how are you going
to get the power from western P.E.I., across the bridge
and through New Brunswick," Currie said.
"It looks like there was never a deal and that (Premier
Robert) Ghiz jumped out front on this and now he got
Brown said the province did consult with NB Power
and NS Power before the plan was put together and
both utilities saw no issues at that time.
But now he, too, is being told New Brunswick currently
has no room for P.E.I.'s energy on its transmission
"The markets have changed. Wind production and energy
production is fast moving,"
Brown explained. Brown is heading to an environment
minister's meeting in Newfoundland this weekend and
hopes to find a solution to the problem.
"I have to work some sort of deal out with them,"
He plans to try to negotiate with the Atlantic ministers
on the concept of building an energy corridor for
use by the whole region.
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has been
doing some work in this area and has drafted an option
paper proposing a regional energy corporation be formed.
But even if the other Atlantic provinces don't want
to sign a regional agreement, Brown said New Brunswick
is legally required to grant some transmission access
"Every utility has to provide open transmission
for a fee, otherwise you can't get into the U.S. market,"
He further stated that it is up to the developers
to negotiate transmission through New Brunswick if
they are interested in exporting.
"The developers are telling me that they see no