Enabling Sustainable Growth

As our region and country advance plans to decarbonize and achieve net-zero targets, demand for new sources of reliable, renewable electricity is rising sharply – driven by increasing industrial development, electrification, the evolving wind-hydrogen production industry, the green economy, and growing adoption of electric vehicles. Newfoundland and Labrador’s electricity system is on the cusp of extraordinary expansion and transition.

WE ARE FORWARD THINKING

As Newfoundland and Labrador’s crown utility and primary producer of electricity, we are well-positioned to lead this energy transition, and we are working diligently to meet Canada’s goal of a net-zero electricity sector by 2035.

Powering the Future

With the Muskrat Falls Generating Station and Labrador Island Link now fully integrated in the province’s electricity system, 92% of the energy Newfoundland and Labrador customers receive is generated from renewable sources. Building on this, our long-term planning must also account for increasing electrification and the eventual replacement of existing fossil fuel powered generation from aging assets nearing retirement. Approximately 590 MW is projected to come offline over the next decade.

Building a Roadmap for a Sustainable Tomorrow

To meet unprecedented future electricity demand, progressive planning, investment, and collaboration toward building new generation and transmission assets is crucial. With new generation builds taking anywhere from 5 to 10 years from start to final commissioning, the time for decisions is now.

At Hydro we are conscientiously planning ahead and responsibly undertaking significant study and analysis. In 2023, we continued to advance our Reliability and Resource Adequacy (RRA) Study – an ongoing, multi-year initiative to assess future supply needs and define the roadmap forward for least-cost, reliable and environmentally responsible service to Newfoundland and Labrador customers. It’s a big task but we are bringing our deep experience and expertise to the table and we are up to the challenge

A smiling man with brunette hair, glasses and a beard.

GET TO KNOW TYLER

As Protection and Control Engineer, Tyler Thompson was one of the dedicated team members who helped commission the Labrador Island Link.

Last year Hydro submitted several studies to the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Utilities Board (PUB) as part of the RRA analysis of potential supply options. These options for the near term include a combustion turbine, an additional hydroelectric generating unit at our Bay d’Espoir plant, wind generation, as well as other potential solutions such as battery storage systems and pumped storage at existing Hydro facilities in the longer term. We continue to work openly with the PUB and intervening parties in that process. We’re making significant strides towards a concrete and reliable roadmap to a sustainable tomorrow, but we also need support and efficient processes from our governing stakeholders to enable a timeline that has all those invested successfully meeting the growing energy demands in our province and net zero commitments.

Maintaining and Enabling Our System Today

As part of our commitment to sustainability, Hydro is also focused on maintaining, upgrading and extending current assets wherever possible, with several projects being undertaken and/or completed in 2023. This work not only aids to further our Province’s goal of decarbonizing our economy, it also contributes to building businesses, creating jobs and growing our economy.

The Valentine Gold project, a collaboration between Hydro and Marathon Gold Corporation (now Calibre Mining Corporation1) is just one example of these ongoing efforts. The project marks a significant milestone in the advancement of energy infrastructure, having successfully concluded its extensive work throughout 2023 and early 2024. The installation of a new 48 km, 66 kV wood pole transmission line (TL 271) and an extension to the Star Lake Terminal Station was recently executed within 1% of projected budget, ahead of customer energization timelines and in compliance with considerations identified through an environmental assessment for the project.

The project showcases the potential for future developments and collaboration with industry, with both parties crediting their highly effective and collaborative relationship.

In another significant step toward a greener future Hydro, in collaboration with IOC and key partners, has completed the Labrador West Expansion Study. This comprehensive assessment of transmission infrastructure from Churchill Falls to Labrador West explored various configurations and provided cost estimates to proponents, setting the stage for decision making around sustainable progress in decarbonizing and expanding operations. Emphasizing the vital collaboration between iron producers and electricity suppliers for environmentally-friendly iron production, the study recognizes the role of clean energy in transitioning to a greener economy. The next phase – the Facilities Study that is set to begin in 2024 – will engage multiple stakeholders and iron producers in Labrador West as we collaborate toward a more sustainable industrial landscape.

Our journey has only just begun. With almost five gigawatts (GW)2 of untapped renewable hydroelectric potential within our province, Hydro is dedicated to maximizing the benefits of our abundant renewable resources for the benefit of the people of our province. The future is bright.

Graphic depicting "4.9 GW of undeveloped HYDROELECTRIC POTENTIAL" with an illustration of a river and pine trees, symbolizing renewable energy resources.

In support of the provincial Renewable Energy Plan, Hydro continues to explore renewable energy initiatives in areas served by diesel generation. To better understand the impacts of increased demand on these communities, in July 2023 we partnered with CLEAResult to host a collaborative, two-day event attended by a wide variety of stakeholders representing provincial, federal and Indigenous governments, utilities and the private sector. The event concluded with new ideas and prospective solutions identified, and the creation of a roadmap to implement these solutions within the program for a clean, reliable future.

Conservation and demand management continues to play an important role in Hydro’s overall management of the system. Through the takeCHARGE program, our residential and commercial customers in Newfoundland and Labrador achieved 1,810 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy savings in 2023, exceeding the annual target. Since 2009, these programs have accumulated energy savings of 56,887 MWh. We will continue to prioritize the advancement of conservation and demand management as our province transitions to a net-zero future.

Driving Electric Vehicle Adoption in Newfoundland and Labrador

In 2023, Hydro further supported electric vehicle (EV) use in Newfoundland and Labrador through administering Government rebate programs for individuals and businesses, and also by championing EV adoption across our operations:

  • Through the Electric Vehicle Rebate Program administered on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, we provided more than 700 rebates to residents and businesses purchasing electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles – an increase of 88% over the previous year.
  • Our Commercial EV Charger Rebate Program, offered in partnership with Natural Resources Canada, helped businesses and municipalities invest in EV charging infrastructure. At the end of 2023, more than 60 EV charging plugs were added at local businesses and communities across the province as a direct result of our rebate program, making it easier than ever to drive electric in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Adoption and use of electric fleet vehicles continued across our organization, with 12 light duty fleet EVs in use from Churchill Falls to St. John’s, including the first electric light-duty pickup truck for our fleet. Our fleet of EVs have a combined lifetime usage of over 210,000 kms; which is the equivalent of eliminating more than 15,000 L of gasoline, or 32,000 kg of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • To support our electric fleet, Hydro installed EV chargers at six additional facilities last year. Chargers are now available at our offices in Wabush, Churchill Falls, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, St. Anthony, Port Saunders, Deer Lake, Bishop’s Falls, Soldier’s Pond, Whitbourne and St. John’s, as well as the Bay d’Espoir and Exploits hydroelectric facilities and the Holyrood Thermal Generating Station.
  • There was a significant increase in the use of Hydro’s public fast-charging stations across the province in 2023, with EV drivers charging more than 13,000 times. These chargers provided nearly 330 MWh of energy – enough electricity for an average EV to drive more than 1.6 million kilometers!

  1. Acquisition completed in January 2024 for a 100% interest in Marathon and the Valentine Gold Project. ↩︎
  2. Includes extensions in Churchill Falls, Bay d’Espoir, Cat Arm, and new opportunities in Gull Island, Island Pond, Portland Creed, Round Pond, Beothuk Lake Falls, and Badger Chute. ↩︎
Solar panels on a rooftop, sun shining above, symbolizing energy generation.

Using solar energy to help power communities

In September 2023, Hydro energized two solar projects, one in each of the isolated diesel systems of St. Lewis and Black Tickle.

A team of Hydro employees wearing orange uniforms and protective equipment, gathered in front of a large power plant.

Landmark moment as Labrador Island Link is commissioned

April 2023 was a momentous month for Hydro as testing of the Labrador Island Link was successfully completed, marking the commissioning of the full project.