N.L. Hydro opens bidding for new Holyrood turbine
Vice-president says extra 100 megawatts would've been enough to avoid January outages
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has gone to tender for a new gas turbine to prevent a repeat of the power outages in early January.
Island-wide power failures occurred at the height of a snowstorm and frigid temperatures, leaving thousands cold and in the dark. Rolling blackouts were necessary as crews worked to gradually bring customers back on the grid.
The Public Utilities Board has been reviewing the province's power system and capacity since the January event. But so has Nalcor, parent company of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.
In February, Nalcor CEO Ed Martin said he had asked staff to take another look at future estimated power needs in light of the blackouts.
Hydro vice-president Rob Henderson now says the plan to find extra generation by 2015 has been expedited. And he says they've found a way to get a 100-megawatt turbine for the price of a 60-megawatt machine.
More bang for buck
"Through our preparation work, we've identified some options that will allow us to get it in a year earlier, with a little bit larger capacity, for around the same price," he told CBC.
"So we're making our application to the PUB for it now, given that opportunity."
Henderson also said the extra 100 megawatts of generation would've been enough to offset the problems experienced in January.
"Yes, this type of extra capacity would've been sufficient to not have the curtailment. It would certainly be enough to cover off what was interrupted."
Henderson said a public tender for the new combustion turbine was issued Monday, and will close April 21. But he declined to estimate how much it might cost, given the parameters and privacy of the public tendering process.
He did say the successful bidder will be required to have the new turbine up and running at Holyrood by December.
Meantime, he said turbines at both Hardwoods and Stephenville are both in "good shape" and will be ready to handle the load next winter.