Utilities ask for continued conservation during cold snap
Residents and businesses on the island of Newfoundland are entering Day 2 of a three-day energy-conservation period requested by the utilities responsible for the island’s main power grid.
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is responsible for supplying the bulk of power for the grid and closely watched the use of Hydro’s power on Tuesday, noting a peak demand in the morning of 1,406 megawatts (MW) of power, shortly after 7:30 a.m.
Before blitzing media with a call for energy conservation, the utility had expected a morning peak demand of 1,450 MW.
“It appears that customer conservation efforts helped reduce the peak we saw on the system this morning,” said Dawn Dalley, Hydro parent Nalcor Energy’s vice-president of corporate relations, in a statement.
“Every action helps and we do appreciate that people are pitching in,” Dalley said.
On Monday, Hydro staff stated the utility is currently working off a system with 1,575 MW of power available for use, with expected demand between 1,400 MW and 1,500 MW each day through Thursday.
In other words, there was not a large buffer between the demand and available supply, leading to the request for energy conservation, particularly at periods of high power usage, from 7-10 a.m. and from 4-8 p.m.
Hydro has been asked for a detailed breakdown of what is being included in its 1,575 MW of power supply available.
Dalley has said it includes a block of 60 MW of power from Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, negotiated for on Dec. 31.
The number does not include 145 MW of Hydro-owned power generating capability deemed offline into Tuesday morning. It also does not include 24.5 MW used to keep the Holyrood power plant running.
The total numbers being issued to the media are all specific to Hydro’s power, she added in an interview, and do not include the rest of the power generation at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, or the power available through Newfoundland Power.
The total includes a mix of some power from the hydro plants in Central and steam power from Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, both purchased by Hydro.
It does not include wind power.
Speaking with The Telegram Tuesday evening, Dalley cautioned against people getting tripped up in the numbers.
“You’re taking island (power) versus Hydro, now you’re taking gross versus net, now firm versus installed,” she said.
On any given day, the numbers change, but they are all being monitored by the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB), through daily reports.
The PUB is receiving the reports in follow-up to rolling blackouts and outages on the island Jan. 2-8 and will be addressing the reliability of the entire system for this winter and through to 2017 in a report coming May 15.
The bottom line for the moment is, due to colder than expected temperatures, Hydro is running short enough on the overall power supply to cause concern and the call for conservation.
All customers are being asked to continue taking steps to conserve electricity where possible.
Power down facts
On Monday and Tuesday, Hydro was reporting issues with four power generators, taking away from the overall power available to feed customers. The total estimate on unavailable power was 145 megawatts (MW), according to the utility. That includes:
• 35 MW unavailable due to a repair required on one of three generators at the Holyrood power plant
• 75 MW out due to one of six generators being offline at the Bay d’Espoir plant
• 10 MW less than normal capability at the Stephenville gas turbine, due to the capacity of a replacement engine
• 25 MW less from the Hardwoods plant, due to a fuel valve issue
(Source: Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro; NLH System Supply and Demand Report March 3, 2014.)
Here is what comprises the 1575 MW:
Bay d'Espoir - 525
Cat Arm - 138
Hinds Lake - 78
Granite Canal - 41
Upper Salmon - 88
Paradise River - 9
All hydro - 879
Holyrood - 455
Hardwoods - 25
Stephenville - 40
Northern Peninsula Diesels 14
All thermal - 533
Purchases - 103 (Exploits Generation from Nalcor, Cogeneration from CBPP)
CBPP additional capacity purchase - 60
This is a corrected version