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Natural Resources Minister says Labrador wind power is export product

Following a recent article in the Labradorian discussing the Labrador Métis Nation’s Height of Land Wind Park proposal in partnership with Ventus Energy, Minister of Natural Resources, Kathy Dunderdale offered some clarification on the province’s position on wind power development.

Ms. Dunderdale says while the government recognizes “wind power is a clean, renewable, and stable source of energy” they are “ensuring necessary ground work is done” before decisions affecting the development of the resource takes place.

The Minister stresses that government has not made commitments to any of the many companies that have expressed an interest in using wind farm technology to harness the wind power in Labrador.

However, she does say that Hydro is “monitoring Labrador’s significant wind resource.”

“The purpose”¦ is to assess the potential of the resource to ensure that any path forward maximizes returns to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,” Ms. Dunderdale said in correspondence with the Labradorian.

“It’s Hydro’s responsibility to look at any project from a system perspective including interconnection, market access, power purchase agreements, and technical integration issues, including integration with the Lower Churchill project.”

Currently, the province has approved two small wind projects totalling a mere 51 MW of wind generation. The purpose of awarding these contracts was to supplement the islands power supply and help reduce the province’s “reliance on the burning of oil for electricity, there by reducing emissions.”

“This decision was made in the context of the current regulatory environment and Hydro’s regulated mandate to deliver safe, reliable, least-cost power.”

The Minister says any wind power developed on the island is for domestic use only, whereas wind power developed in Labrador “where the power is for export.”

She says it’s the reason why development has happened on the island and not in Labrador.

But what of the power needs in coastal Labrador where power is supplied by diesel fuelled generation stations.

In Ramea on the province’s south coast, Hydro has been purchasing wind power from a private developer since 2004.

“Building on this existing wind-diesel system, Hydro is undertaking a research and development project to incorporate hydrogen to develop an environmentally friendly energy solution to be used in small isolated electrical distribution systems.”

Ms. Dunderdale says clearer answers on how the province intends to develop its “world class wind resource” will become available when the province releases its energy plan sometime this spring.

By Kenn Oliver
The Labradorian

thelabradorian.ca

16 April 2007