Canadian utility Emera has proposed exporting power from 1.2GW of future onshore wind farms in eastern Canada via a subsea cable to Massachusetts, to help the New England state meet its mandated renewables target.
Emera’s Atlantic Link project would harness seven as-yet-unbuilt wind farms in the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, backed by a range of both large international developers like RES and EDF-RE as well as smaller players like Natural Forces and SWEB.
The largest of the seven proposed wind projects is the 403MW Salmon River development in southeastern New Brunswick, owned by Germany’s Enercon and Nova Scotia-based Natural Forces. If built today, Salmon River would be the largest wind farm in Canada, topping EDF’s two-phase 350MW Rivière-du-Moulin in Quebec.
The Atlantic Link is one of a group of proposed transmission projects that have been put forward under Massachusetts’ Clean Energy tender. The land-constrained state seeks to import 9.5 million MWh of renewable power annually – and will provide developers with coveted long-term contracts.
Massachusetts’ clean-energy tender represents one of the largest opportunities for developers of renewables and transmission projects in the region today – and a lifeline for eastern Canada’s once-thriving wind sector, which faces a shortage of domestic opportunities.
Massachusetts will announce the winners by January 2018.
Separately, Massachusetts is also seeking 1.6GW of offshore wind contracts by 2027, in the largest offshore wind request for proposal to date in the US.
Among the other transmission projects offered into Massachusetts' onshore tender are Avangrid’s New England Clean Energy Connect, National Grid’s Granite State Power Link, Transmission Developers Inc.’s New England Clean Power Link, and Eversource’s Northern Pass. All are tied to existing renewables capacity or new developments, like the proposed expansion of the Seigneurie de Beaupré wind farm in Québec.
But Emera’s Atlantic Link is perhaps the most audacious of the lot, proposing to run a 1GW high-voltage direct current cable from Coleson Cove, New Brunswick, down through the Bay of Fundy and along the Atlantic coast, ending at Plymouth, Massachusetts – near the state’s retiring Pilgrim nuclear plant.
The Atlantic Link would become the longest subsea interconnector in North America when it came on line in 2022, running for 375 miles (600km).
All told, Emera is offering to deliver about 5.7 million MWh of renewable power each year into Massachusetts at a fixed rate over 20 years, including 4.1 million MWh from the wind farms and the remainder from Canadian hydropower.
In doing so, it would only be utilising 65% of the Atlantic Link’s total capacity, meaning Massachusetts could increase its purchases over time – perhaps fostering additional Canadian wind development.
Emera says it has already executed power-purchase agreements with the wind developers, whose projects would more than double the installed onshore wind base in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
The seven wind projects that would initially feed into the Atlantic Link are the:
· 403MW Salmon River project, developed by Enercon/Natural Forces.
· 155MW Yorkshire, developed by EDF-EN Canada
· 151MW Black Spruce, developed by SWEB/Black & McDonald
· 148MW Higgins Mountain II, developed by Elemental Energy/Katalyst/3G Energy
· 148MW Colborne, developed by RES Canada
· 130MW Silver Brook, developed by RES Canada
· 59MW Andy’s Pond, developed by Enercon/Natural Forces
Halifax-based Emera is presently nearing completion of its Maritime Link, which will connect the island of Newfoundland to the North American grid for the first time, via a 500-mile subsea HVDC line running to Nova Scotia.
The Maritime Link is also expected to open opportunities for renewables development in Atlantic Canada – including perhaps the country’s first offshore wind project.