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Energy export projects in Atlantic Canada

The Financial Post reports today on Atlantic Canada’s ‘new energy economy’. It quotes Charles Cirtwill, executive vice-president of the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies, who says, “it is being driven for the most part by private-sector investors…”

The article highlights, “renewable energy will be the cornerstone of (the drive to New Brunswick shedding it’s ‘have-not’ status by 2026, premier Shawn) Graham said, as abundant sources of hydro, wind and possibly tidal power are channelled through the New Brunswick energy hub to hungry New England markets.”

“To get it there, Graham is proposing a north-south energy corridor capable of exporting between 1,200 to 1,500 megawatts through to the state of Maine, a co-signatory to the project.”

“Already, new projects are lining up behind the north-south proposal, which would be built by Irving Oil and increase four or fivefold the volume capacity of existing hydro lines.”

“Only days after Graham’s mid-March statement, federal cabinet minister Peter MacKay announced Ottawa’s interest in developing what it called an Atlantic Energy Gateway, with $4 million in funding and an 18-month study to assess future prospects.”

IRVING OIL NATURAL GAS FIRED COGENERATION PLANT “Irving Oil is considering a 500- to 600-megawatt natural-gas-fired cogeneration plant to feed into the (proposed north-south energy) pipeline.”

EMERA ENERGY UNDERGROUND TRANSMISSION LINE “Nova Scotia utility Emera Energy Inc., which also owns Bangor Hydro, said it would build a $2-billion underground transmission line between Bangor, Maine, and Boston if the project goes ahead.”

“Other long-discussed projects, like the development of a second nuclear power station in New Brunswick, suddenly become more viable with the presence of the energy corridor…”

There is also “the $1.3-billion refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear plant…” in New Brunswick.

“Wind farms are popping up across the region. Nova Scotia last year signed six long-term contracts for wind energy projects. Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz has stated that his province intends to produce 500 megawatts of wind energy by 2013, a $1-billion project that would be the biggest undertaking since the building of the Confederation Bridge in the mid-’90s.”

“On a far bigger scale, Newfoundland’s $10-billion Lower Churchill hydro project could eventually produce more than 3,000 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 1.5 million homes, according to the Newfoundland and Labrador government. It is slated to begin delivering power by 2015.”

(Premier Danny Williams announced on April 2 that Newfoundland and Labrador is now exporting 130 megawatts of power from the Upper Churchill site to New York through the Hydro-Quebec power grid.)

Projects include “construction of Irving Oil’s Canaport liquefied natural gas facility, a joint project with Spain’s Repsol YPF…”

“As for the oil and gas motherlode offshore, Nickle’s Energy service recently declared ‘the outlook remains strikingly good,’ with hundreds of millions of development dollars budgeted this year for Newfoundland’s three producing oilfields and millions for Nova Scotia’s Deep Panuke and Sable Island natural gas projects.”

“For all its strengths, the regional economy cannot escape the global downturn. Acciona Wind Energy, a unit of Spain-based Acciona Energy, recently put two major New Brunswick wind projects on hold, saying liquidity for capital projects has dried up.”

“The likelihood is that economic conditions will delay the major projects – such as the Irvings’ proposed second Saint John refinery, an $8-billion plan on which it has partnered with international oil major BP – by up to two years, said economist Adrienne Warren at Scotia Economics.”

The full article is at http://nbbusinessjournal.canadaeast.com/journal/article/632077