Funding approved for small hydro studies

17 December 2010

The funds, provided to Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (NLH), will study projects that would benefit Labrador coastal communities.

“Our government recognizes the need for reliable and clean power for residents of Labrador’s coastal communities,” said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. “Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has been studying the use of small-scale hydroelectric developments which could provide reliable, clean and available power to coastal communities and the results have been encouraging. We are providing $2.5 million for the continuation of this research in order to further explore the natural resources of Labrador and their potential to provide power to surrounding communities.”

The Coastal Labrador Alternative Energy Study was conducted by NLH to determine if alternative energy projects might be feasible to provide power to Labrador coastal communities. Results of this study were positive and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro believes further work is warranted to explore the potential of small-scale hydroelectric development in greater detail.

“Many of the Labrador coastal communities are serviced by diesel stations which provide electricity to residents,” said the Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Labrador Affairs. “While the Provincial Government provides almost $20M annually through grants and subsidies for electricity users in these communities, we are hopeful that this study will provide alternative methods of providing reliable and clean power to these households.”

Through the Northern Strategic Plan, the Rural Deficit Subsidy, the Rate Deferral Subsidy for Diesel Service Areas and the Enhanced Home Heating Rebate, the Provincial Government has endeavoured to keep rates in coastal communities as low as possible and comparable with the Labrador Interconnected residential rate. Budget 2008 also provided $250,000 to support the Coastal Labrador Alternative Energy Study.

Further to the research to be carried out by NLH, the Northern Strategic Plan committed to reviewing commercial rates in Labrador coastal communities with the view of introducing a comparable rate upon sanction of the Lower Churchill Project.

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