New Brunswick

Emera Inc. bids to deliver wind energy, hydro power to Massachusetts

Emera Inc. says it has submitted a competitive bid to deliver 900 megawatts of wind energy and hydro power from Atlantic Canada to Massachusetts by 2022.

New Brunswick wind farms would be main source of power, says company

Emera Inc. has put in a bid to deliver wind energy and hydro power to the U.S. (Dave Chidley/CBC)

Emera Inc. says it preparing to submit a competitive bid by the end of July to deliver 900 megawatts of wind energy and hydro power from Atlantic Canada to Massachusetts by 2022.

If successful, the main source of that power would likely be wind farms yet to be built in New Brunswick. 

The company said because wind power can be unreliable, the proposal will also use hydro power, including power from the Muskrat Falls hydro-electric dam being constructed in Labrador and due to come online in about three years. 

The power would be transmitted through a 600-kilometre undersea cable. 

The proposed cable, about as wide as the bottom of a two-litre pop bottle, would be buried in an ocean floor trench less than half a metre deep. 

Cable from Saint John to Plymouth

It would start from a new DC converter station planned at Coleson Cove in Saint John and terminate in Plymouth, where Massachusetts' only nuclear plant, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, is scheduled to shut down in Jun. 2019. 

Emera's vice-president of U.S. government affairs Gerald Weseen said the construction phase of the project would create more than 7,000 jobs in New Brunswick and add $1.2-billion to the province's GDP. 

Massachusetts has legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets and is actively seeking cleaner sources of energy to meet them. 

In March, the state issued a request for proposals to deliver more than nine terrawatts of renewable power on an annual basis. 

The Emera proposal is just one response to that. 

"That's equivalent to all the energy consumed by Nova Scotia in one year," said Dan Muldoon, the executive vice-president of major renewable and alternative energy for Emera.

Seeking wind farm partners

Two months ago, Emera closed its search for potential wind farm partners.   

Asked how many wind turbines would be needed to generate 900 megawatts of power, Weseen said it depends on the technology, location and the consistency of the wind.
He said a wind farm of 30 to 50 turbines can produce about 100 megawatts of power, so it could take anywhere from 270 to 450 turbines to fullfill the target.

Massachusetts will close its request for proposals on July 27 and Weseen said he expects a decision in the fall of 2018.

He added Emera is moving ahead in a parallel process to get environmental approvals for the project, something he said can't wait.


Rachel Cave is a CBC reporter based in Saint John, New Brunswick.