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P.E.I.’s governing PCs, Opposition Liberals concerned about future power grid capacity


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The flexibility of P.E.I.’s energy utility to face up to rising calls for for power was the topic of questions within the legislature on Nov. 24.

Liberal MLA Robert Henderson raised a peak load skilled by Maritime Electrical throughout a regional chilly snap final February. Maritime Electrical CEO Jason Roberts informed CBC on the time the load peaked at 393 megawatts on Feb. 4, 2023, inflicting some outages however no widespread blackouts.

NB Energy, which provides energy to P.E.I., skilled a peak load of three,442 megawatts.

NB Energy’s annual report revealed that “world occasions” restricted its skill to entry energy from conventional suppliers and that the chilly snap “demonstrated that power safety is impacting our province at a quicker tempo than beforehand contemplated.”

Talking throughout query interval, Henderson steered this raised questions on P.E.I.’s skill to entry off-Island energy by way of NB Energy.

“With the rising inhabitants and the quantity of houses going electrical as we construct into the long run, does P.E.I. have the quantity of energy wanted to maintain the lights on and to warmth Island houses ought to we expertise an identical chilly snap?” Henderson requested.

Power Minister Steven Myers stated the province’s energy grid does have the capability to face up to an identical chilly snap this winter. Nevertheless, he stated there are considerations about growing calls for sooner or later.

Liberal MLA Robert Henderson laughs before a sitting of the legislature on November 24. Henderson said he is concerned about the increasing demands on utilities in the province due to population growth and electrification. – Stu Neatby - Stu Neatby
Liberal MLA Robert Henderson laughs earlier than a sitting of the legislature on November 24. Henderson stated he’s involved concerning the growing calls for on utilities within the province on account of inhabitants progress and electrification. – Stu Neatby – Stu Neatby

Chatting with SaltWire after query interval, Myers stated he has been informed Maritime Electrical can cope with a load of as much as 600 megawatts. However he stated with extra houses transitioning to electrical heating and EV automobiles, calls for on the grid will solely improve.

He says neighbouring provinces are dealing with the identical challenges.

“Because the grid grows in its wants, are they going to have the ability to provide it? And what occurs when all of the coal fired energy vegetation come off and Nova Scotia must have that very same capability that we purchase now from New Brunswick?” Myers stated.

“Are we going to be preventing for electrical energy?”

Myers stated P.E.I. might want to improve the electrical cables below the Northumberland Strait, which he stated had been initially in-built 1977.

He additionally stated an overhead transmission line from Memramcook to Cape Tormentine may even should be twinned.

This could be a posh challenge because the traces on the mainland could be owned by New Brunswick whereas the undersea cables would doubtless be owned by P.E.I.

Myers stated the funds for the challenge might be as excessive as $400 million.

“It isn’t a problem at this time. However it may be a problem right here in 2030, 2032,” Myers stated.

Environment Minister Steven Myers says he is confident Maritime Electric’s grid has the capacity to deal with high demands this winter, including a repeat of a cold snap last February. But he cautioned that increasing population and a move away from fossil fuel heating will place increasing demands on the province’s utility. – Stu Neatby - Stu Neatby
Setting Minister Steven Myers says he’s assured Maritime Electrical’s grid has the capability to cope with excessive calls for this winter, together with a repeat of a chilly snap final February. However he cautioned that growing inhabitants and a transfer away from fossil gas heating will place growing calls for on the province’s utility. – Stu Neatby – Stu Neatby

Upgrades to those traces accomplished inside the final decade. A doubling of the undersea cables was accomplished in 2017, which was described by the previous Liberal authorities as the biggest infrastructure challenge in P.E.I. for the reason that Confederation Bridge.

That improve elevated the province’s day by day energy capability to 560 MW from 260 MW and value each the province and the federal authorities $143 million.

In an interview, Henderson additionally questioned whether or not P.E.I.’s energy grid has the distribution capability wanted in all areas.

He raised limitations of three-phase energy in rural areas. Three-phase energy provides can typically accommodate increased hundreds.

“If we’re saying by 2030 you are going to 200,000 individuals, do you could have the ability capability and distribution to deal with that if it is all throughout P.E.I.?” Henderson stated.

Throughout query interval, Myers stated the province will doubtless want extra assist from Ottawa for this subsequent improve to the undersea cables.

“We now have a giant ask – and it may go to Ottawa. And I hope you Liberals can faucet someone on the shoulder and say this has to occur instantly,” Myers informed the Liberal bench.

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