Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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Atlantic Energy Gateway - Transmission Modelling Study Report

A Study of Transmission Upgrade Options for Atlantic Canadian Utilities

Executive Summary

The Atlantic Energy Gateway (AEG) project is a regional initiative of the federal government, the Atlantic provincial governments, electric utilities of Atlantic Canada and the system operators in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The objective of the AEG project is to contribute to the development of Atlantic Canada’s clean energy resources by identifying the opportunities and assisting in evaluating the advantages of the region’s substantial and diversified renewable energy potential for wind, tidal, solar, biomass/biofuels, geothermal and hydro.

At the heart of the AEG project is a resource assessment of Atlantic Canada’s integrated regional power supply system through the development of a representative model of the electricity system. That model was used to evaluate the current operation of the system as well as develop scenarios that integrate increasing amounts of renewable and non-emitting energy sources for domestic and export loads.

A tighter integration of the Atlantic Canadian electrical system will lead to increased opportunities for inter provincial energy trade. These opportunities are enhanced by implementing a number of key transmission upgrade options within and between provinces, not just facilities at the borders. Adequate transmission capacity is a key element to generation expansion. Lack of transmission capacity leads to congestion and results in suboptimal generation dispatch. This results in increased electricity production costs through curtailment of low-cost generation and dispatch of more costly alternatives. The addition of transmission capacity will reduce marginal electricity costs across the region.

Various potentially desirable transmission upgrade options were identified by the Transmission Planning Committee. Studies performed using the integrated resource model, under the direction of the AEG Resource Development Modelling group, identified the key interfaces as those between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. These interfaces have been previously studied at a high level to determine their approximate transfer capabilities and the costs to upgrade transmission facilities into this area. This information was provided to the AEG Resource Development Modelling group.

As the resource development plan becomes known and Atlantic Canada’s electricity system evolves, more comprehensive transmission studies will be required to assess the impact and define the transmission upgrades necessary to implement the plan.

View related Atlantic Energy Gateway studies.