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Energy expansion exploration could lead to U.S. partnerships: Massachusetts official

On Tuesday, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia announced they would explore building new transmission lines between the two provinces, which would more than double the amount of electricity that can be shared between them. A similar expansion of capacity between centrally located New Brunswick and the northeastern United States could give the Maritimes access to a lucrative energy market.

FREDERICTON - The announcement of a possible energy expansion between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia could eventually lead to similar partnerships with the northeastern United States, as further regional integration is explored.

Ian Bowles, Massachusetts' secretary of energy and environmental affairs, says the partnership between New Brunswick and New England could see similar developments in the future.

"We have a strong interest at a state level in seeing a robust regional market," said Bowles, who oversees the state's six environmental, natural resource and energy regulatory agencies.

"Over the next 10 or 20 years, you're going to see I'm sure, an increase in the transmission capacity between the Maritimes and New England."

On Tuesday, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia announced they would explore building new transmission lines between the two provinces, which would more than double the amount of electricity that can be shared between them.

A similar expansion of capacity between centrally located New Brunswick and the northeastern United States could give the Maritimes access to a lucrative energy market, but Bowles says funding such a substantial investment can be an obstacle.

"I think... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

FREDERICTON - The announcement of a possible energy expansion between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia could eventually lead to similar partnerships with the northeastern United States, as further regional integration is explored.

Ian Bowles, Massachusetts' secretary of energy and environmental affairs, says the partnership between New Brunswick and New England could see similar developments in the future.

"We have a strong interest at a state level in seeing a robust regional market," said Bowles, who oversees the state's six environmental, natural resource and energy regulatory agencies.

"Over the next 10 or 20 years, you're going to see I'm sure, an increase in the transmission capacity between the Maritimes and New England."

On Tuesday, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia announced they would explore building new transmission lines between the two provinces, which would more than double the amount of electricity that can be shared between them.

A similar expansion of capacity between centrally located New Brunswick and the northeastern United States could give the Maritimes access to a lucrative energy market, but Bowles says funding such a substantial investment can be an obstacle.

"I think the challenge for the Maritimes is being able to bring it to market in New England. We've got a large market for renewable power, but the economics of building sufficient transmission to get it into our markets is always an issue," he says.

Bowles is currently in New Brunswick and took the opportunity to tour the TransAlta Kent Hills wind farm earlier this week.

At Tuesday's announcement, Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter pointed to New Brunswick's environmentally friendly energy resources as one of the reasons for expanding the grid between the provinces.

Gaƫtan Thomas, president and CEO of NB Power, has said recently the utility is looking to expand its renewable energy assets.

"New Brunswick has perhaps one of the best wind resources in Canada. Over the next 15 years, the region could potentially have the highest penetration of installed wind capacity in the country," he said at an April announcement.

However, he added that green energy must also be accompanied by reliability and affordability of conventional sources.

Toby Couture, an energy analyst for E3 Analytics in Fredericton, says bigger transmission interties between provinces and states is a part of making alternative energy, such as wind, a more reliable source of power.

Since the wind isn't always blowing, turbines don't always produce to their maximum capacity, meaning conventional sources of electricity must also be maintained as a backup.

However, should more turbines be constructed across the region, combined with added transmission lines to ship their power to where it's needed, shortfalls would be less likely even if winds are calm in some areas.

"With Nova Scotia developing more and more wind power in the years ahead, we would be able to accept Nova Scotia's wind power when it has a surplus. That's a real advantage regionally," Couture says, although the infrastructure upgrades required for such sharing with New England make that a more long-term goal.

"We technically could flow power all the way from wind farms in Cape Breton, all the way down to Boston."

Kent Hills, located on Crown land south of Moncton and completed in December 2008, consists of 32 wind turbines, each 80 metres tall. There are 18 additional turbines being constructed at the site, which will make it the largest wind farm in Atlantic Canada.

The wind farm currently has a generation capacity of 96 megawatts, soon to rise to 160 mW - a relatively small amount when compared to NB Power's total generation capacity of about 3,900 mW. The Kent Hills energy is sold onto the NB Power grid based on rates in a power-purchase agreement between the two companies.

Massachusetts has also set an ambitious target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

While the state is building its own wind facilities, Bowles says doing so there is less "straightforward," due to the denser population and tighter regulations.

"I'm impressed by how quickly the province, NB Power and TransAlta are putting up the wind farm," he says.

"It's a good thing. We in Massachusetts are still overcoming some of the NIMBY, not in my backyard type of reactions that wind power still sometimes produces and it's nice to see our neighbours to the north are being able to put some impressive wind capacity in place."


Source: http://telegraphjournal.can...

JUL 23 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/27405-energy-expansion-exploration-could-lead-to-u-s-partnerships-massachusetts-official
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