March 6, the federal loan guarantee for Emera’s Maritime Link Project was finalized. This follows the project receiving Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board approval and Environmental Assessment release in 2013.
The Maritime Link is a new 500 MW, +/-200 to 250kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system that includes the following elements and associated infrastructure:
· Shore grounding facilities;
· Two converter stations and adjoining substations;
· Transmission corridors (HVDC transmission, HVAC transmission, grounding system transmission lines);
· Two transition compounds (for converting underground subsea cables to overhead transmission conductors); and
· Other potential infrastructure, as required.
There are three main components to the project:
· In Newfoundland, a new transmission line between Cape Ray and Bottom Brook along an existing transmission corridor, and Bottom Brook to Granite Canal in a combination of existing and new corridors.
· Across the Cabot Strait, two subsea cables spanning about 111 miles from Point Aconi, Nova Scotia to Cape Ray, Newfoundland (exact location to be determined).
· In Nova Scotia, a new transmission line (about 30 miles in length) parallel to the existing transmission corridor centerline between Point Aconi and Woodbine.
The socioeconomic context for the Maritime Link is the growing demand for more renewable energy as part of a comprehensive, long-term and sustainable electrical power management strategy. In addition to supply/demand management, a key component is the need to gradually reduce or eliminate dependency on existing commercial-scale carbon-based generation facilities.
In Atlantic Canada, as in many other jurisdictions, alternatives are being aggressively pursued and developed, particularly wind and tidal power. Although these renewable energy alternatives can collectively account for a increase in electrical power, unfortunately, even when fully developed, they operate intermittently and require another reliable baseload generation.
The Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Generation Project will contribute to the increasing production of renewable energy in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to the point where energy from all generation sources will be surplus to its current and foreseeable requirements. This surplus energy will be available for export through the Maritime Link to the existing mainland power grid in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.