Nalcor marks 'significant milestone' as power flows from Labrador to Newfoundland
1,500-kilometre transmission project most complex, robust in province's history, says Stan Marshall
It might only be a small amount, but the power grid in Newfoundland is now receiving electricity from a source nearly 1,500 kilometres away.
Nalcor Energy confirmed Wednesday that 45 megawatts of power is flowing from the iconic Churchill Falls generating station in Labrador to the new converter and terminal station at Soldiers Pond, just outside St. John's.
The new transmission lines, which includes a subsea power cable beneath the Strait of Belle Isle, were energized in late May, marking the first time that electricity from Labrador has powered businesses and homes on the island.
"Today marks a significant milestone," said Nalcor president and CEO Stan Marshall.
"Our transmission line from Labrador has been brought to life."
The control room where they’re testing the new systems like the conversion from DC to AC power <a href="https://t.co/RufCjLCGUW">pic.twitter.com/RufCjLCGUW</a>—@PeterCBC
- $33.7M pricetag revealed for independent inquiry into Muskrat Falls
- Nalcor boss reports 'great year', says Muskrat Falls mostly complete
The Muskrat Falls hydro generation facility in Labrador is 90 per cent complete.
Marshall and some of his top officials hosted a media tour of the Soldiers Pond site Wednesday, celebrating the major milestone in the ongoing construction of the costly and controversial Lower Churchill transmission project.
"We've reached an important step to enhance reliability, and create new opportunities for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador," Marshall said.
Testing will continue over the coming months, peaking at more than 200 megawatts in the coming months, just in time for peak winter demand.
The power from Churchill Falls is being used to displace more expensive power from the oil-fired generating station at Holyrood.
Marshall estimates savings at $50,000 daily by importing 45 megawatts from Churchill Falls.
"We have made excellent progress," said John MacIsaac, Nalcor's executive vice-president of power supply.
The Lower Churchill transmission project consists of three main parts: an alternating-current transmission line and infrastructure between Churchill Falls and Muskrat Falls; the Labrador‐island transmission link, which spans over 1,100 kilometres from Muskrat Falls to Soldiers Pond; and high voltage direct current sites and electrical assets at
Muskrat Falls and Soldiers Pond.
It's the latest chapter in a major project that has caused deep division in the province, with a public inquiry established to study how Muskrat Falls's estimated $6.2-billion price tag at sanctioning in 2012 has more than doubled to $12.7 billion.
Electricity customers are also bracing for a doubling of their utility bills by 2022.
With files from the Canadian Press