Hydro files 2016 capital plan; outlines $184 million investment to meet customer needs

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro) plans to invest $184 million in capital projects next year as part of its extensive capital plan to upgrade the provincial power grid and meet growing demand for electricity.

Hydro filed its annual Capital Budget Application for 2016 on Friday, July 31 with the Newfoundland and Labrador Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB). The application details 120 projects focused on meeting customer’s  increasing electricity needs and improving reliability by updating and replacing aging infrastructure. It includes both new and multi-year projects previously filed with the Board.

“We continue to invest in revitalising our electricity assets, many of which are over 40 years old, to ensure reliability now and over the long term,” said Rob Henderson, Vice President, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. “At the same time, we are adding transmission capacity to meet increasing residential, commercial and industrial demand on the system.”

Over $85M of overall capital spending in 2016 will focus on modernizing transmission line infrastructure. This will include the multi- year upgrade of the transmission route between Soldiers Pond to Hardwoods ($3.7 M in 2016) to increase transmission capacity to the North East Avalon, as well as the previously approved transmission line from Western Avalon and Bay d’Espoir ($75M in 2016). At Hydro’s terminal stations, about $7M is projected to be invested in 2016 to implement the first year of a five -year breaker replacement program across the province.

About $26M will be used towards upgrading generation infrastructure, including $6.1M in the Bay d’Espoir Hydroelectric Generating Station in 2016; and $9.3M at the Holyrood Thermal Generating Station to ensure the reliable operation of these key generating stations.

“We remain firmly focused on strategic and major investment on our existing electricity system as we move towards an interconnected grid,” said Henderson. “We are committed to building a strong foundation to provide reliable and cost-effective electricity for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for decades to come.”

As well as being the primary generator of electricity in the province, Hydro delivers power directly to customers in coastal and rural communities on the island and Labrador. This application includes projects to update the distribution systems and remote diesel plants in the province’s most isolated service areas.

Backgrounder: 2016 Capital Budget Application Highlights

Generation – $25.6M. Key projects include:

  • $6.1M will invested in the Bay d’Espoir Hydroelectric Generating Station which includes the refurbishment of Surge Tank 2, the overhaul of two generator units and the installation of fire protection system at the terminal station. It also includes the first phase of a multi-year project to replace deteriorated site facilities.
  • Nearly $12M will be invested at Holyrood Thermal Generating Station; major projects include the refurbishment of Unit 3, the overhaul of the pumps, and the refurbishment of the powerhouse exterior.

Transmission and Rural Operations – $147.5M. Key projects include:

  • $75M will be invested in 2016 on the 230kV transmission line between Bay d’Espoir and the Western Avalon Terminal Stations (multi- year project previously approved by PUB totaling $212M).
  • $ 7M in 2016 on upgrades and replacement of circuit breakers across the province (five year program expected to cost $61M in total).
  • $3.7 M in 2016 on replacing the 230kV transmission line from Soldiers Pond to Hardwoods (three year project anticipated to cost $26.5M in total).
  • $2.9M for the continuation of Hydro’s comprehensive pole inspection and testing program. Hydro operates 2,400 kilometers of wood pole transmission lines, including about 26,000 poles.
  • $2M for the installation of a spare transformer at Happy Valley Goose Bay Terminal Station to improve reliability.
  • $1.8M to replace diesel units in Cartwright and Charlottetown.
  • $3M to install fire protection systems in diesel plants in Nain and Cartwright. This is the continuation of of a multi-year program to equip diesel plants with automatic fire protection systems. 
  • $5.1M to provide service extensions to new customers on the Labrador Interconnected system and other service areas.
  • $3.9M on annual pole maintenance upgrades across Hydro’s distribution system, including the replacement of deteriorating poles, corroded and damages conductors and other equipment damaged by weather or salt.
  • $1.2M to construct a new overhead distribution line from Pilley’s Island to Long Island to replace a failed submarine cable.