Hydro files annual capital budget plan; outlines electricity system upgrades in 2015

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro) plans to invest $80 million in projects next year as part of its ongoing capital program to continue to maintain and upgrade the provincial electricity system.

Hydro filed its annual Capital Budget Application for 2015 today with the Newfoundland and Labrador Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB). This application is in addition to large capital projects previously filed with the Board. Overall, capital expenditure for 2015 is expected to be around $274 million.

“Meeting current and future demand for reliable electricity is the basis for Hydro’s capital activities,” said Rob Henderson, Vice President, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. “The annual capital budget is anchored by, and is a continuation of, our long-term asset management strategy. This application addresses both the need to maintain and upgrade our existing facilities in response to growing customer demand and aging infrastructure.”

The 2015 capital plan details 109 projects (ongoing and new) focused primarily on updating, repairing and replacing equipment and infrastructure that is nearing or has reached the end of its useful life. The majority of Hydro’s infrastructure is over 40 years old. At the same time, residential and commercial power demand has increased significantly in the province due to our rapidly growing economy.

About $18 million will be invested in upgrading generation infrastructure across the province. Hydro is making a significant investment of $8 million in its hydroelectricity facilities, including $5.2 million in the Bay d’Espoir Hydroelectric Generating Station. Nearly $2.7 million will be invested to refurbish the gas turbine in Stephenville, and $4.8 million will be invested to refurbish infrastructure and systems at the Holyrood Thermal Generating Station to ensure the reliable operation of all three units.

Over $52.5 million will be invested in transmission and rural operations, including the acceleration of Hydro’s circuit breaker replacement program, and ongoing upgrades and replacement of power transformers across the province. Six million is allotted to provide service connections to new customers, particularly on the Labrador Interconnected system.

“Strategic and major investment in our existing provincial electricity system is particularly important as we move toward an interconnected grid; one that will ultimately provide sustained reliable and cost-effective electricity to our customers,” said Henderson. “Our extensive refurbishment plans are the foundation for decades of reliable power to come. That’s why Hydro’s immediate priority is to update and upgrade our assets, everything from the generating facilities to distribution systems.”